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Checkoff Report - November 2, 2017

Michigan Corn paving the way for increased ethanol demand

LANSING, Mich. — The Corn Marketing Program of Michigan (CMPM) undertakes education, research and marketing programs to strengthen Michigan’s corn industry and grow farmers’ bottom lines.

In Michigan, nearly 40 percent of the annual corn crop goes to make ethanol. Distillers dried grains (DDGs) are also a valuable co-product of the ethanol process. DDGs go right back into the food system as a high-protein animal feed. There is still a lot of room for growth in the ethanol industry, which would translate into more demand for corn.

CMPM is working heavily on expanding this market through initiatives aimed at growing demand domestically, expanding existing foreign markets and developing new and emerging international markets.

One way it is expanding ethanol demand is by participating in the Ag Auto Ethanol workgroup. This group is made up of auto and equipment manufacturers, chemical companies, seed companies, ethanol companies and corn checkoff groups from various states. It serves as a forum for building relationships, identifying barriers to the expansion of ethanol use and determining how to overcome them.

The group has successfully identified a series of barriers to wider adoption of higher blends of ethanol fuels and a timeline of activities to overcome those barriers. The group has also passed High Octane Low Carbon Fuel, which is an ethanol blend, through the American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM) so it can be used by the EPA as a test fuel when certifying engine mileage and emissions. Moving forward, the group is working to define these ASTM standards.

The work group is also pushing to expand the current waiver on Reid Vapor Pressure to include E15. Without the waiver, E15 can only be sold as regular fuel for half the year, and has to be sold as flex fuel for the other half.

This is a significant barrier to selling the fuel to consumers because it creates confusion at the pump and prevents owners of non-flex fuel vehicles from using the fuel.

The availability of infrastructure is another key barrier. To help overcome this, CMPM funded the installation of E85 pumps, flex fuel pumps and underground storage tanks for ethanol, and marquee signage at stations.

CMPM also launched a consumer-focused website to provide accurate information about ethanol to the general public. Radio advertisements during Detroit Tigers games and on Michigan Radio help take the message to consumers who don’t live near farms, and who may have been exposed to myths and misinformation about ethanol. You can find this information at

CMPM is working to expand markets for ethanol and DDGs in foreign countries. This work takes place through national organizations, including the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), which receives CMPM funding.

USGC builds the relationships on the ground that help increase U.S. exports of corn, ethanol and DDGs to foreign trading partners. This includes everything from putting foreign buyers in touch with U.S. sellers to educating regulators about how to use ethanol fuel in their countries.

USGC is also helping open new foreign markets for ethanol. For example, in countries struggling with air quality issues, USGC has helped educate them about how ethanol reduces air pollution. They have also worked with livestock farmers in foreign countries to show them the benefits of feeding DDGs to livestock.

To find out more, visit CMPM online at or on Facebook at and Twitter via @MI_Corn.               

Snyder reappoints farmers to soybean checkoff board

LANSING, Mich. — Laurie Isley of Palmyra and Sarah Peterson of Niles were recently reappointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to their second terms on the Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee (MSPC).

Isley, owner of Sunrise Farms, Inc., was raised on a crop and livestock farm in Washtenaw County and has lived on a cash crop farm in Lenawee County for the past 38 years. She is a third-generation farmer raising crops using minimum tillage techniques. She and her husband, James, farm approximately 1,000 acres of corn and soybeans annually.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in agriculture and natural resources and a Master of Arts in educational leadership from Concordia University.

In addition to farming, Isley was active in 4-H, has 35 years of teaching experience in agricultural science and natural resources at Blissfield High School, where she also served as FFA advisor, and currently serves as Lenawee County Farm Bureau president. She also has written and implemented agricultural lessons for elementary students that are tied to the state requirements for science and social studies, and served on the state’s Farm Bureau Promotion and Education Committee for six years.

She will continue to represent soybean farmers in MSPC District 3, which includes Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.

Peterson is originally from the Upper Peninsula where she was raised on a dairy and beef operation. She attended MSU, where she studied animal science with an emphasis in agribusiness. She worked at the MSU Beef Cattle Research Center where she met her future husband, Alan.

She moved to his home in southwestern Michigan, where she became active on the Petersons’ 1,500-acre farm raising soybeans, corn, pasture ground, beef cattle and now two children. Some of their acreage is also rented out for raising watermelon, peas, sweet corn and potatoes.

Peterson works on the farm with strip-tillage, processing cattle, harvesting beans, driving the grain cart, running for parts and whatever else is needed. She also participated in Annie’s Project through MSU, Profile – which is an 18-month Michigan Farm Bureau Leadership program – was selected as Young Farmer Leader of Farm Bureau, served as a 4-H leader, loves educating the public on agriculture and was selected as Monsanto’s northeast regional winner of Farm Mom of the Year a few years ago.

She is also interested in blogging and talking to the media. She wants to continue to advance in agriculture with her young family. She will continue to represent soybean farmers in District 1, which covers Berrien, Branch, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties.

The board’s last regular meeting this calendar year is Dec. 14 and it will meet in 2018 on Jan. 17, Feb. 14, March 28, June 13, June 20, August 8, August 30 and Sept. 19. Meetings will be held at the Agronomy Farm at MSU in East Lansing unless otherwise announced.

Corn yield contest harvest form due date extended

CHESTERFIELD, Mo. — With harvest continuing across the country, the National Corn Growers Assoc. (NCGA) will now accept online harvest forms for the 2017 National Corn Yield Contest until Dec. 1 at 4:30 pm CST.

Entrants are asked to report within two weeks of their final yield check or by Dec. 1 now, whichever comes first. The online harvest form is available to both farmers and seed representatives using the same login process as the initial entry form. Login does require submission of the entrant's NCGA membership number.

For access to contest information and a detailed list of the entry and harvest rules, visit

Scholarship opportunities for ALP Class 18 members

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) and Indiana Corn Marketing Council (ICMC) will offer partial tuition scholarships for full-time Indiana soybean and corn producers who are accepted to participate in the Indiana Agricultural Leadership Program (ALP) Class 18.

“Agriculture, Indiana’s largest industry, plays a profound and overriding role in every phase of Indiana life. The development of effective agricultural leaders and spokespersons is one of our greatest keys to progress,” said Tom Griffiths, ISA chair and a farmer from Kendallville. “It is important that we make this investment to ensure strong farmer leadership for now and into the future.”

ISA and ICMC will contribute up to $1,000 per farmer accepted into the program. The ALP is designed to guide Indiana’s promising leaders to new levels of leadership skill and to a heightened awareness and understanding of the issues facing their industry.

“Having well-rounded, engaged farmers is key to the success of not only organizations, like ours, but of our industry as a whole,” said David Gottbrath, ICMC president and a farmer from Pekin. “Encouraging more corn and soybean farmers to participate in this program helps us grow farmer-leaders who will hopefully become more involved in helping move our organizations forward in the future.”

ALP is administered by AgrIInstitute, Inc. It selects up to 30 individuals to participate in the two-year program. Each class represents a diverse group of agricultural and rural community representation. Tuition for this program is $5,000 per person. Applications for the upcoming class must be submitted with a postmark date of Jan. 12, 2018.

For additional information, contact ALP Executive Director Beth Archer at 317-745-0947 or or ISA and ICMC Education and Training Director Hannah Vorsilak, at 317-644-2791 or

Derivatives industry joins to launch education resource

CHICAGO, Ill. — At the recent FIA Expo, the largest gathering of futures market participants in the world, was launched to provide information and curriculum for learners of all levels to understand the role that derivatives markets play in the global economy and everyday lives.

With initial support from the Futures Industry Assoc., CME Group, National Futures Assoc., the Institute for Financial Markets (IFM) and CME Group Foundation, will be a leading online resource for derivatives education, providing interactive tools, a trading simulator and curricula for a wide variety of audiences.

"We now have a resource for market users, policymakers, educators and students, as well as the general public, to better understand how risk management markets work and why they matter to all of us, every day," said Walt Lukken, president and CEO of FIA, the leading global trade organization for the futures, options and centrally cleared derivatives markets.

"We are making this investment, along with the Institute for Financial Markets, to help tell that story, generate understanding of the impact we have and develop the next generation of market users. We hope other industry participants will join this effort." provides the following:

•Get the Basics: An introductory unit that helps professionals and students learn Futures 101 – how the marketplace, futures and options work. This covers topics such as the relationship between supply and demand and the concept of risk.

•See the Impact: Tools to discover how familiar tasks like buying food or gas, or obtaining a mortgage, are affected by futures markets. The section also provides a brief introduction of hedging and speculating.

•Explore the Marketplace: A closer look at what makes futures markets tick – from participants and key processes to policies and protections facilitated through clearing houses.

•EconEssentials: A resource for educators that provides free materials that integrate seamlessly into the classroom, including online modules and coursework to understand managing risk when buying a car, getting a student loan or starting a part-time job.