Annual Ohio River Lock Tour Offers Insight on River Transportation
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., (September 5, 2014) — Observing and understanding the importance of the United States’ waterways was the goal of a recent lock and dam tour along the Ohio River.
The 7th Annual Ohio River Lock Tour was organized by the Indiana Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) Membership and Policy Committee. The 200 tour participants traveled along the Ohio River on September 5, passing through the Newburgh Lock and Dam, on a deck barge provided by Evansville Marine Service, Inc. Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann and Congressman Larry Bucshon were among those attending this year’s event.
“This river tour gives Indiana leaders a close look at the value of our waterways and why they’re important not only to agriculture, but to the state and national economy,” said Levi Huffman, chair of ISA’s Membership and Policy Committee. “Waterways are one of the most economical forms of transportation and we want to take steps to ensure they’re well maintained.”
The Annual Ohio River Lock Tour began in 2008 with the goal showing political leaders and the ag community the importance of maintaining a strong U.S. waterway infrastructure. With more than 51million tons of grain shipped on the Ohio River annually, ISA Membership and Policy Committee and ICGA organized the event to educate farmers about the importance of river transportation to their bottom line and to Indiana’s economy.
“A sound infrastructure keeps commerce moving both directions. Cargo hauled via waterways is one of the cheapest methods of transportation, which is beneficial to the end users,” said Herb Ringel, president of ICGA. “The tour allows participants – especially Congressional staff – to see how waterways like the Ohio River are used on a daily basis.”
Thanks in part to the effort of U.S. farmers who educated their legislators on the importance of U.S. waterways, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 was signed into law by President Obama in June 2014.
However, implementation of the legislation is forthcoming. Indiana has five locks and dams on the Ohio River along the state’s southern border. A closure of just one of these locks could cost farmers – and other industries like coal and petroleum – millions in lost revenue.
“Legislators need to know how valuable and strategic the river is for transporting our crops,” said Joe Steinkamp, vice-president of ISA. “Every bushel of grain that is transported via river is one less bushel transported via truck or rail. Without our river system, we lose our competitive advantage over the world.”
This year’s tour was organized by the membership of ISA and ICGA and is sponsored by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, Indiana Soybean Alliance (soybean checkoff), ADM, Mulzer Crushed Stone, Inc., Kentucky Soybean Board, Kentucky Corn Growers Association, Farm Credit Mid-America, and DuPont Pioneer.
For more information, visit www.indianasoybean.com/rivertour.
The Indiana Soybean Alliance works to enhance the viability of Indiana soybean farmers through the effective and efficient investment of soybean checkoff funds and the development of sound policies that protect and promote the interest of Indiana soybean farmers. The ISA is working to build new markets for soybeans through the promotion of biodiesel, livestock, international marketing, new soybean uses, aquaculture, and research. ISA is led by an elected farmer board that directs investments of the soybean checkoff funds on behalf of more than 28,000 Indiana soybean farmers and promotes policies on behalf of the ISA’s 950 dues-paying members.
The Indiana Corn Growers Association, which works with the state and federal governments to develop and promote sound policies that benefit Indiana corn farmers, consists of 15 farmer-directors who provide leadership to the organization on behalf of the more than 600 ICGA members statewide.
This communication was NOT funded with Indiana corn or soybean checkoff dollars.
Indiana Corn Looking for Applicants for National New Leaders Program
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Sept. 22, 2014) — From developing key leadership skills to networking with farmers from across the country, the National Corn Growers Association DuPont New Leaders program offers exciting opportunities for Hoosier corn growers.
Applications for the 2015 NCGA DuPont New Leaders program are due September 30, 2014. Indiana corn farmers interested in industry leadership development are encouraged to apply for this program.
The program’s target audience is farming couples or individuals who are new to active industry participation or who are considering agricultural board leadership. The 2015 program begins in January when participants will participate in communications training and forums on the top issues pertaining to the corn industry in Johnston, Iowa.
JR Roesner is a farmer from southern Indiana who participated in the 2014 program. Roesner, a graduate of Purdue University, planned on pursuing a career in mechanical engineering before returning to his family’s farm. He now manages the family’s corn, soybean and wheat operation along with his two brothers.
The NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program offered Roesner and his wife a unique opportunity to keep current with agricultural issues from a political and communications standpoint and network with farm couples like them.
“The program put us in touch with a large network of like-minded people,” Roesner said. “There seem to be fewer and fewer young farm families, and it was so refreshing to connect with a group of our peers.”
Throughout the spring and early summer, participants will attend various state and national events to hone their communication and leadership skills. Additionally, they will take part in online activities to communicate with other participants and program leaders. The program will conclude in July 2015 with a trip to DuPont’s facilities in Delaware and a visit to Washington D.C. where participants will take part in NCGA activities.
“The program gave us a voice,” he added. “We were trained on how to handle many of the controversial or “hot button” topics in the agriculture industry today. I think the most valuable lesson we learned is that even though we are only one family, we still have a powerful voice and we should use it.”
To apply for the program, participants must be at least 21 years of age and a member of the NCGA (and Indiana Corn Growers Association). Participants cannot be serving on a NCGA affiliated board or Corn Congress. Participants must commit to attending all elements of the program. All program-related travel and lodging expenses for both the grower and spouse/partner participant will be covered, per NCGA policy and procedures. Information about the program can be found at: www.ncga.com/nlp.
“The networking, camaraderie, and skill sets you will gain from this program are definitely a chance of a lifetime,” Roesner said, encouraging Indiana soybean farmers to apply for the program.
“Every aspect of the program is so well run and the opportunities that will open up for you are astounding,” he said. “If you want to learn how to ensure that your voice is heard and meet an amazing network of peers, this is a program you don’t want to miss.”
The Indiana Corn Growers Association, which works with the state and federal governments to develop and promote sound policies that benefit Indiana corn farmers, consists of 15 farmer-directors who provide leadership to the organization on behalf of the more than 600 ICGA members statewide. For more information, visit www.incorn.org.
Mexican Consumers Increase Pork Consumption Thanks to Indiana Corn, Soybean Project
“The people of Mexico currently consume about 35 pounds of pork per person each year,” said Tom Griffiths, member of ISA’s livestock committee from Kendallville, Ind. who is ISA’s representative at USMEF meetings. “When you compare that to other markets, like the United States (about 46 pounds) and China (84 pounds), we see opportunity.”
While Mexico is about 65 percent self-sufficient in pork production, the United States supplies the lion’s share of imports – about 90 percent – and is well-positioned to gain from a growth in Mexican pork consumption, since the Mexican pork industry does not have the capacity to fully satisfy increased demand.
Indiana Corn Growers Urge Continued Support of State’s Ethanol Industry
Hoosier Farmers Encouraged to Adhere to Agrisure Duracade™ Stewardship Program
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., (April 2, 2014) — The Indiana Corn Marketing Council encourages Hoosier farmers to strictly adhere to the aggressive stewardship program in place for the release of Syngenta seed trait Agrisure Duracade if they choose to utilize this trait for the 2014 growing season. Following these guidelines is vital to minimize the risk of trade disruption and negative impacts on the 2014 corn crop market price.
Although the use of Agrisure Duracade has been approved in the United States, it has not yet been approved for use in either the European Union or China. If Agrisure Duracade were to inadvertently leak into export channels, U.S. grain shipments to these key markets risk rejection. Additionally, these markets could be potentially closed to U.S. exports until regulatory approval is received.
“Hoosier farmers’ close proximity to the Ohio River – a major trade channel to foreign markets – requires that we maintain the integrity of our trade channels,” said Dennis Maple, ICMC president and farmer from Greentown, Ind. “We understand that producers want to take advantage of new technologies as soon as they become available, but we also need to understand the responsibilities and risk factors associated with using a technology that has not yet received global approval.”
According to the U.S. Grains Council, the unfortunate reality is that biotechnology approval systems around the world today are not synchronous. Additionally, some countries still lack effective, trade-enabling policies regarding the low level presence (LLP) of unapproved biotech events in grain shipments. Inadvertent commingling is a tremendous risk, and modern testing methods are likely to detect even trace levels of unapproved events.
“The presence of unapproved events in the export stream therefore carries a significant risk of major international trade disruptions,” said USGC President and CEO Tom Sleight. “Given the increase in corn production in competitor countries and the ability of buyers to source anywhere in the world, leakage of unapproved events may even result in the closure of some major markets to U.S. corn exports for an indefinite period.”
Syngenta has initiated Agrisure Duracade’s introductory launch for the 2014 growing season and will be working with growers on identifying marketing options. Farmers are urged to ensure this grain is delivered only to approved-end user. Syngenta is partnering with Gavilon to pick up and purchase at fair market value any Agrisure Duracade corn for which an approved buyer cannot be found.
“Our producers and grain handlers need to keep in mind that the first purchasers of their corn crop are not necessarily the end users. In fact, 40 percent of Indiana’s corn crop is eventually shipped out of state to many different destinations, including foreign markets,” said Rosalind Leeck, ICMC grain marketing director.
ICMC encourages Hoosier farmers to evaluate the consequences of their choices and actions, keeping in mind that the consequences of those decisions may be far-reaching – even global. It is important for all sectors of the value chain – individual farmers, technology providers, shippers and exporters alike – to recognize the potentially significant international implications of their actions. Growers are encouraged to discuss options with their tech provider and first purchaser to fully understand the responsibilities that come with planting unapproved traits.
“New technologies are key to U.S. farmers maintaining a leadership role in meeting the global food demand,” said Maple. “However, as these new technologies are in the process of development and implementation, we need to be aggressive in following the established stewardship guidelines to help prevent any potential trade disruption and ensure the integrity of our markets.”
For more information on this subject from U.S. Grains Council, visit http://grains.org/index.php/2012-04-30-15-22-26/4524-usgc-urges-us-farmers-handlers-exporters-to-strictly-adhere-to-stewardship-program.
The Indiana Corn Marketing Council was established by the Indiana General Assembly to promote the interest of corn growers in the state and manage corn checkoff funds. The Council is composed of 17 voting producer directors and seven appointed industry, and government representatives.
This communication was funded with corn checkoff dollars.