From the passage of key legislation to record production numbers to welcoming new member associations, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) has much to celebrate as we enter a new year and leave an old one behind. They present here a collection of association highlights for 2007 that are worth toasting, in no particular order:
* President Bush signed federal energy legislation Dec. 19 with a renewable fuels standard that mirrors NCGA’s vision of 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol by 2015. This effort was strongly supported by both houses of Congress and endorsed wholeheartedly by the president, starting with his State of the Union address in January.
* The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will release its final production figures on Jan. 11, but preliminary estimates show much for farmers to be proud of – 13.2 billion bushels of corn produced. This is the largest crop in U.S. history and 25% larger than the 2006 crop. In addition, the estimated average yield of 153 bu. is one of the highest ever.
* Along with this high production, interest in NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest was at an all-time high. Not only were there a record number of entrants (4,932 – 56 higher than 2006), but the 27 national winners had verified yields averaging more than 298 bu./acre. Two dozen entrants posted yields of more than 300 bu./acre in what can only be recognized as a clear demonstration of the effectiveness of corn biotechnology.
* Also when it comes to record-breaking entries, Commodity Classic gained in prestige in 2007 with the highest number of trade-show booths – 675 – visited by a near-record 4,000 registered attendees. It was also the year Commodity Classic was joined by a third industry partner, the National Association of Wheat Growers. Previously, Commodity Classic was the annual convention and trade show of just NCGA and thcone American Soybean Association.