Grain News & Updates
Maryland Farmer Reiterates Support for Trade in Mexico
Past U.S. Grain Council (USGC) chair and Maryland farmer Chip Councell was among the leaders of the USGC and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) who traveled to South Korea and Mexico recently in concurrent missions to engage with customers and government officials during a period of policy uncertainty in the U.S. corn industry’s #1 and #3 markets. Councell was a member of the delegation visiting Mexico, which also included Jim Stitzlein, USGC vice chairman; Kevin Skunes, NCGA president from North Dakota; Chris Novak, NCGA chief executive officer; Kim Atkins, USGC vice president and chief operating officer; and Melissa Kessler, USGC director of communications.

They met with the major grain associations representing the top buyers of U.S. grain products, a large grain processing facility and government officials. While discussions surrounding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took precedence, the team also learned more about the Council’s grain and ethanol focused programming in Mexico. In 2016/2017, Mexico was the largest customer for U.S. corn, DDGS and malt (both roasted and non-roasted). Mexico also ranked as the second largest customer for sorghum and the tenth largest market for U.S. ethanol.

MGPUB Supports Local FFA Field Trip 
On a field trip funded in part by the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board (MGPUB), Queen Anne’s County FFA toured Nagel Farm Service, Inc. last Friday to learn more about the grain industry on the Eastern Shore. The students were interested to hear about grain marketing and technology being used in modern agriculture. Following the tour at Nagel’s, the students enjoyed lunch and learned about the Wye Angus at the University of Maryland’s Wye Research and Education Center.
Do you want a say in how checkoff funds are used? At the Maryland Farm Bureau convention, we asked attendees to complete a survey to call attention to how the grain checkoff funds are being used and get some feedback on farmer interests. We would appreciate your feedback to help determine priorities for checkoff investment. Results will be shared with the board at the annual funding meeting in January. 

Commodity Organizations Support Science-Based Trade Regulations at WTO Ministerial
Members of the U.S. Grains Council, U.S. Wheat Associates, the National Corn Growers Association, and other commodity organizations, welcomed a joint statement issued this week from 17 countries participating in the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, emphasizing the importance of supporting farmer access to the full range of tools and technologies available and opposing regulatory barriers lacking sufficient scientific justification.

The statement demonstrates global support for all farmers and the tools and innovations they need to protect their crops from devastating diseases and destructive pests while delivering safe food sustainably to the world's consumers. The signatories take a step forward in calling out countries that undermine farmer choice through regulatory barriers that are not scientifically justified.

National Wheat Foundation Jerry Minore Scholarship
The National Wheat Foundation has officially begun accepting applications for its annual Jerry Minore scholarship. Each year the Foundation partners with BASF to establish a scholarship for students with connections to the wheat industry who are planning careers in agriculture. The Minore Memorial Scholarship will fund four college scholarships for the 2018-2019 academic year: two $1,500 scholarships and two $1,000 scholarships. Deadline for applications is December 31, 2017. 

Fields-Of-Corn Photo Contest Open for Voting Through Social Media
The National Corn Growers Association’s Photo Contest entry period closed at the stroke of midnight Nov. 30th, now everyone is encouraged to take part in the process by sharing or "liking" their favorite entries. Entrants are urged to share their photos from  to Facebook. The "likes" collected on their post will automatically collect to the contest site. Entrants can also tag the share with @fieldsofcorn  on their Facebook page for additional exposure. The 2017 contests received a record-breaking number of entries with 469 photos submitted, an increase of 150 entries over the number submitted in 2016. Voting closes at the stroke of midnight (CST) Dec. 31.