Harvesting Corn Stover

Much of the research that is presented during the Corn Utilization Technology Conference, held recently in Indianapolis, is about new uses for corn. During a session all about new uses at this year’s conference, Steve Peterson, Monsanto, gave a presentation on “Advances in Corn Stover Harvest and Treatment for Animal Feed.” He says Monsanto started a project about five years ago to determine if we can harvest stover and how to handle, transport, store and process it. The project was started after getting questions from their customers about the residue when they are growing corn after corn. Through the process he says they’ve been able to determine how much stover you can remove and the factors that impact that. The conclusion they’ve come to is that you can sustainably harvest stover. So now they are looking at the best ways to use that stover. That includes working with cattle feeding operations to see if it can replace corn and hay in cattle diets. Steve says that the motivation for all of this is Monsanto’s goal of doubling corn yields by 2030.

Listen to my interview with Steve Peterson here: Interview with Steve Peterson

2012 CUTC Photo Album

Corn Technology Utilization Conference Concludes

The 2012 Corn Utilization Technology Conference has come to a close and attendance was officially higher than in 2010. It has been a tremendous showcase of all kinds of research being done to continue to make new products and improve others made out of corn which is “Rooted in Human History (pdf).”

To close out the conference and give us a wrap-up I spoke with Rick Tolman, CEO, NCGA, seen here delivering his closing remarks a few minutes ago. I would echo his comments about being impressed with the young people attending the conference, many of whom submitted student posters for competition.

Rick says it’s the best of times and worst of times for the corn industry. Best of times because corn growers are on the top of their game, growing the largest crop in the United States which is used worldwide in more products and applications than any other crop. However, Rick says it’s also a tough time for corn growers due to a lot of uncertainties like negative media attention driven by misinformation coming from activist groups who want to change the way we grow corn and grow food. This conference helps get him enthused about the business though when you see how many new ideas are being worked on that will ultimately benefit the industry.

I also asked Rick for his thoughts on the farm bill, partnering with NASCAR and the progress of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance which NCGA is a member of. He’s optimistic about all these programs.

Listen to my interview with Rick here: Interview with Rick Tolman

You can find photos from the 2012 CUTC in my online photo album: 2012 CUTC Photo Album

2012 Corn Tech Conference Underway

The 2012 Corn Utilization Technology Conference is underway, the ribbon has been cut. Cutting the ribbon are (l-r) Garry Niemeyer, President, National Corn Growers Association and Dr. Mike Ladisch, Distinguished Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University and our keynote speaker this afternoon. Once again at this every other year conference I’ll be conducting interviews and posting them on the NCGA award winning Corn Commentary blog.

To get a preview of this year’s CUTC I sat down with Garry and we talked about the program as well as the corn crop and farm bill. Garry says this conference provides a great opportunity to hear about new technology and the research that’s being done. He’s got his research glossary out so he can keep up with the terminology! From a farmer perspective he says it is very important to know if this new technology will help him maintain a sustainable and profitable operation. He also says that the importance of holding a conference like CUTC is becoming more apparent to farmers “as they need to step up to the plate so that we know what will happen with our investment in our future and our livelihoods.” He says technology has taken us from a culture of scarcity to one of abundance and he wants to share that with world. That means more research.

Speaking of research, we turned to the farm bill which is coming back up for work on the Senate side. He says they’ve worked very hard on this version since it’s the first one up. He thinks that the ARC program (Agriculture Risk Coverage) is very compatible to most farmers however it represents a $23 billion decline from where we currently are. But the money just isn’t there which is why we don’t have direct payments. There’s optimism that this will move through the full senate soon.

When it comes to the corn crop he says, “I have never ever seen corn grow like it has this year.” He left home with corn that he planted in March that was shoulder high on him. So that sounds pretty optimistic to me. Hopefully the weather will cooperate for the rest of the season.

Listen to my interview with Garry here: Interview with Garry Niemeyer

You can find photos from the 2012 CUTC in my online photo album: 2012 CUTC Photo Album

Back to the Corn Grind

When I hear that it’s time to get “back to the grind,” I think of going back to work. For the corn industry, Back to the Grind is the theme of the 2012 Corn Utilization Technology Conference.

With a theme of “Back to the Grind,” CUTC will feature the cutting-edge technologies and new uses that continually improve and dynamically change the corn industry.

The conference will debut a third tier of presentation options offering participants the opportunity to hear the latest on mycotoxin research. This new offering has been added to complement the work of the Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence, which continues to emphasis the importance of developing methods to mitigate and control mycotoxin development in all phases of production and processing.

So I’ll be going back to the grind again this year for the conference where I’ll be conducting interviews with researchers and presenters. Some of my coverage will be featured here on AgWired but most will be appearing on Corn Commentary, the award winning blog of the National Corn Growers Association.

Next week’s event is just one of several where you’ll find members of the ZimmComm team. Cindy will be attending a BASF media event and World Pork Expo and Jamie will be attending the Fuel Ethanol Workshop. We’ll be putting a lot of time on the agriblogging highway!

CUTC Website Updated

If you’re interested in the latest in corn technology then check out the updated Corn Utilization and Technology Conference website. The National Corn Growers Association says their is now more information on the poster session, session topics and many other areas of interest.

With a theme of “Back to the Grind,” CUTC will feature the cutting-edge technologies and new uses that continually improve and dynamically change the corn industry. By visiting the website today, potential attendees can explore this theme and make reservations at a discounted rate.

“The updated website makes learning about CUTC and registering even easier,” said NCGA Research and Business Development Action Team Chair DeVonna Zeug. “With new sessions on mycotoxin, exciting advances in technology and all of the newly added information, CUTC presents a broad range of topics to explore, so register today! It is simple, fast and, until Friday, offered at significant savings.”

American Agriculture’s Strategic National Asset

CUTCThe Corn Utilization and Technology Conference concluded today with a final general session on water usage. Opening the session was Rick Tolman, CEO, National Corn Growers Association. I met with Rick before heading back to the agriblogging highway and we talked about his message of agvocating. That of course is advocating for agriculture.

Rick says we have such a great story to tell that he calls us “agriculture’s strategic national asset.” The agribusiness sector is so productive and has many success stories but unfortunately some of the discussion going on at the national level is very negative. So he says it’s up to us to change the conversation around. That’s why NCGA has worked at not only creating its own social media information channels but has scheduled workshops for growers to learn how to use today’s new communications technologies to make their voice heard in the online conversation. If you know me then you know how much I agree with the approach NCGA is taking! Rick says that it’s very important for farmers to make their voice heard because research shows that consumers are more trusting of information about food when it comes from the farmer than many other sources.

You can listen to my interview with Rick below.

Don’t forget to check out the CUTC Photo Album

China Perspective On CUTC

Li BinThe Corn Utilization and Technology Conference has international participants. We have quite a few from China. I had an opportunity to speak with Li Bin, CEO, Xin Jiang Tianda Biotechnology Co., Ltd., pictured here with Linyi Li, Novozymes China, my interpreter. Thank you Linyi!

I asked him what stimulated his interest in participating. He says that corn utilization in China is one of the largest in the world and he wanted this chance to see what kind of products and technology we have. He is impressed with the organization and diversity of information provided here. He was very interested in how ethanol and production by-products like DDGs have developed here in the United States since they have not progressed to that point in China yet.

You can listen to my interview with Li Bin below.

Don’t forget to check out the CUTC Photo Album

I’ll be heading out from the CUTC today to see the newest utility vehicles being introduced by John Deere. So see you from there next.

Colin Crankshaw Wins CUTC iPad

Colin CrankshawAmid all the research and new uses information being presented at the Corn Utilization and Technology Conference a very important announcement was made.

Colin Crankshaw, GEA Barr-Rosin, was the winner of the iPad drawing. As I understand it he was also the first person to register for CUTC. This drawing was for “early registrants” and I don’t think you can get any earlier than that!

So congratulations Coin and I hope you enjoy that bad boy.

This won’t be the only iPad that CUTC is giving away. The first place winner of the Poster Contest will also win an iPad.

Don’t forget to check out the CUTC Photo Album

CUTC Encouraging New Uses For Corn

CUTCIt looks like we have nearly 300 people attending the 2010 Corn Utilization and Technology Conference. I sat down with NCGA President and South Dakota corn farmer, Darrin Ihnen, this morning and we talked about the need for this kind of conference.

Darrin says CUTC brings out ideas that are still in the development stage while helping the industry come up with new uses of corn. He says that as we grow more corn there is a continuing need to develop new products and markets. He is excited about things like ethanol and ethanol by-products since he’s from a state that doesn’t have a livestock industry to take advantage of these products that are being made from his crop. He says there are a lot of the participants at CUTC who represent companies that already have corn products but may be looking for new and cost effective ways to help their bottom line.

You can listen to my interview with Darrin below.

Don’t forget to check out the CUTC Photo Album

Ag Research Key To New Green Revolution

Dr. Gale BuchananI previewed the keynote address to open the Corn Utilization and Technology Conference earlier today. Now here’s the full comments from Dr. Gale Buchanan, former USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics. Dr. Buchanan was introduced by NCGA President, Darrin Ihnen, and I’m also posting his welcome message. During the next couple days I’ll be doing a lot of interviews which will be used on Corn Commentary in coming weeks. I’ll also have more for you here so keep your eyes and ears open.

You can download (mp3) and listen to Darrin’s welcome here:

Listen to

Dr. Buchanan devoted the theme of his speech to the need for a “new green revolution” and pointed to the work of Dr. Normal Borlaug and many of the things he said about the importance of good scientific agricultural research. He says all branches of science will be needed to create the new green revolution to feed the world in the future. Some of the concerns he has include the availability of fertilizer resources and global climate change.

One of my favorite remarks he made was, “At the time you need the results of research, it’s too late.” He used the problem BP is having with the Gulf oil spill as an example, saying they waited too long to do research on what to do if such a problem occurred.

You can download (mp3) and listen to Darrin’s welcome here:

Listen to

Here is a condensed video of Dr. Buchanan’s speech:

The CUTC Keynote Will Focus On Ag Productivity

CUTCThis is the welcoming committee here at the Corn Utilization and Technology Conference. Actually, our keynote speaker at this afternoon’s opening general session, Gale Buchanan, former USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics, just happened to be registering at the same time I was.

Gale is always happy to help anyone so I got a pre-CUTC interview with him. He will be presenting a research paper that he and two colleagues put together for the Council For Agricultural Science and Technology on the subject of agricultural productivity. He points out that productivity is extremely important and that corn is one of the most important crops we have since it can be used for so many things including both food and fuel. He also points out how important corn is for fuel production since energy is just as important to our civilization as food is. He thinks the corn industry should be proud of the work it has done in recent years and says, “It has shown us that we can have energy sourced from corn and still maintain all of the other commitments we have both in food as well as our carryover stocks as well as our export commitments.”

You can listen to my interview with Gale below.

Corn Utilization Information

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) just came up with another reason to attend the 2010 Corn Utilization and Technology Conference (CUTC) in Atlanta next month.

cutcFormer USDA undersecretary and “Next Green Revolution” expert, Dr. Gale Buchanan, who is also dean and director emeritus of the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, will give the keynote address at the CUTC grand opening on June 7.

Before assuming his current role at the University of Georgia, Dr. Buchanan served as chief scientist and under secretary for Research, Education and Economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the Bush Administration. He is active in agriculture’s scientific community, and recently chaired a panel of notable scientists and government leaders who released an update to Dr. Norman Borlaug’s 1973 CAST Paper No. 1, addressing future challenges in agricultural productivity.

NCGA Director of Biotechnology and Economic Analysis Nathan Fields says this year’s CUTC agenda and theme of “Corn: America’s Renewable Resource,” showcase how corn research and commercial pipelines are already addressing the world’s sustainability challenges. “It’s the only conference of it’s kind really focusing on corn as a core feedstock for a myriad of different products,” Nathan says. CUTC will feature a distinguished list of speakers covering topics such as life cycle analysis of new technologies, land use issues, aquifers, water quality and usage, and greenhouse gas emissions. Participants can also attend sessions on health and nutrition, wet and dry milling processes, biocatalysts, gene transformation technology, unique specialty corns, new products and revenue streams.

Nathan is chairman of the biocatalyst, or enzyme, portion of the CUTC program. “This is a critical piece in corn processing today,” he said. “What efficiencies can be gained through new enzymes, new processing microorganisms.”

CUTC will be held June 7-9 at the Atlanta Hilton Hotel in downtown Atlanta, Ga. Registration information is available on-line.

Listen to or download an interview with Nathan talking about CUTC in general and his session in particular.

A Missouri Corn Growers Roundtable at CUTC

Gary Wheeler, Gary Clark and Jamey ClineSome of the people attending the CUTC are (l-r) Gary Wheeler and Gary Clark, both with Missouri Corn Growers and Jamey Cline, BBI International. They’re all Missouri boys. In fact, MO Corn Growers is one of the sponsors here at the conference.

I got them all to talk with me a little about the event with their impressions and observations. Some of the things that they mentioned included getting good information, especially on the supply side of things and also with distillers grains as well as new enzyme technology. They all agree that this is a very timely conference for the industry since we’re seeing a lot of change and ideas presented here will help us prepare for the changes of the future.

Here’s my interview with these three amigos:

Listen to

You can use this link to download the audio file: Listen to MP3 Gary, Gary and Jamey Interview (3 minutes)

CUTC Photo Album

NCGA Leadership Talks About CUTC

Rick Tolman and Richard GlassI wanted to interview Rick Tolman (l), CEO of the NCGA and Richard Glass (r), VP of Research and Business Development for NCGA together but it didn’t happen that way but we still have a Rick and Rick post anyway. In the picture they’re enjoying one of the presentations taking place at the CUTC.

When I spoke to Rick Tolman he said that he’s always rejuvenated by the ideas, enthusiasm and energy expressed here. He says the exciting story is the productivity in corn production. Like me he also doesn’t see a food vs. fuel issue but one of food and fuel because the corn production pie is growing. But even beyond fuel we’re hearing about other types of new products being made from corn. For example, he says the NCGA offices are being carpeted with a product made from corn.

Here’s my interview with Rick Tolman:

Listen to

You can use this link to download the audio file: Listen to MP3 Rick Tolman Interview (5 minutes)

When I spoke to Richard Glass he said that he’s really impressed with this conference. He says there are people here representing 11 countries counting the United States and that we have 35 speakers in 10 sessions. He says this is perfect timing to have the conference because of all the things going on with ethanol and the push to relieve our dependence on petrochemicals.

Here’s my interview with Richard Glass:

Listen to

You can use this link to download the audio file: Listen to MP3 Richard Glass Interview (4 minutes)

CUTC Photo Album

Businessman Perspective on CUTC

Sano ShimodaSome of you may be old enough to remember hearing Sano Shimoda, President, BioScience Securities, (standing in center of picture) speak to a NAMA Issues Forum in Washington, DC a number of years ago. I’d link you to it but we didn’t have websites to post on back then. I remember him talking about the exciting future of biotechnology and I think we’ve seen a lot of what he spoke about happen.

I ran into him at lunch today and talked with him about the CUTC we’re both attending. He says the key here is biofuels and I would agree that there’s a lot of focus on that technology. He says the future of agriculture is using technology to enhance value of the major crops and ethanol and biodiesel are taking center stage.

When I asked him what he advises his clients right now he replied that they face a challenge of committing capital resources to business development while being uncertain about how sustainable and economical ethanol will be and if we’ll continue to see high prices for oil. As he says, he’s just a business guy listening to some seriously technical presentations but he says you have to be impressed with the people here from all over the world working to meet the challenges the industry is facing.

Here’s my interview with Sano Shimoda:

Listen to

You can use this link to download the audio file: Listen to MP3 Sano Shimoda Interview (3 minutes)

CUTC Photo Album

AgriTalk Again

AgriTalkI really hate to do this to you but here’s AgriTalk again. I know, they need their own category, blog, etc. Mike, Mike and John were live from the CUTC today and I’ll see them again this weekend in Nashville for the New Holland/Michael Peterson Celebrity Tractor Race.

I’ve got some more items to post but this has been a day of doing audio interviews, video recording of session presenters as well as still photography. There hasn’t been any posting time but I do have the photo album updated.

Tomorrow I’ll be traveling on to the annual meeting of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council where I’m presenting in back-to-back sessions in the afternoon. So after the reception here tonight I’ll get caught up online and see you from there.

CUTC Photo Album


CorntiniI don’t know if this is actually called a Corntini but it’s a martini with corn in it.

All I know is that you “drink the best and burn the rest.”

Someone’s going to have to help me out with the ingredients because the server I spoke with didn’t know. These were being served at the opening reception to the CUTC appropriately enough.

I’ve got a bunch of photos to share but they’ll have to wait until I get internet access that allows me to upload them. I’ll add a link here later.

CUTC Photo Album

Rural Development Secretary Keynote at CUTC

USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Thomas DorrI really enjoyed getting to talk with our USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development, Tom Dorr, this evening. He was our keynote speaker at the CUTC.

He told corn growers and all the attendees that they’re doing a great job. He also said that there are challenges ahead like the recent Grocers Association attack on ethanol. He says that’s making it difficult to get the facts out to the media.

He points out that we’ve been through substantive increases in demand before like back in the early ’70′s with the Russian grain robbery that led to fears about escalating food prices. He said that no good deed goes unpunished and that we’ve had the good side of the cycle and now we’re going to have to suffer through the other side. He says it’s difficult to fight a well financed opponent that’s less inclined to deal with facts as opposed to dealing with emotion.

Here’s my interview with Sec. Dorr:

Listen to

You can use this link to download the audio file: Listen to MP3 Sec. Tom Dorr Interview (4 minutes)

Here’s Sec. Dorr’s Keynote Address:

Listen to

You can use this link to download the audio file: Listen to MP3 Sec. Dorr Keynote (24 minutes)

CUTC Photo Album

An NCGA Welcome to CUTC

Bob DickeyThe CUTC is officially underway now that our keynote session and reception is over. It’s a very quiet media room as yours truly is the only one here. At least the internet access is sort of working. It won’t let me upload to Flickr but I guess that’ll have to wait until later.

Post Update: Here’s some photos: CUTC Photo Album

First up on the program was NCGA First Vice President, Bob Dickey. He welcomed everyone and introduced the keynote speaker, USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development, Tom Dorr. I spoke to him before things got going. He says there’s a contingent of foreign visitors here and although he doesn’t have attendance figures yet he’s hoping for a good crowd. I asked him how things were going with corn planting after seeing that we’re finally nearing completion and he said that he’s hoping for a normal amount of heat units during the next couple months. I can understand that with all the rain we’ve been having in the midwest.

I also recorded his welcoming remarks and am posting them for you here too.

Here’s my interview with Bob:

Listen to

You can use this link to download the audio file: Listen to MP3 Bob Dickey Interview (2 minutes)

Here’s Bob’s welcoming remarks:

Listen to

You can use this link to download the audio file: Listen to MP3 Bob Dickey Welcome Remarks (3 minutes)