Are Calls For RFS Waiver Premature?

Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “How will drought impact the Renewable Fuel Standard?” We’re certainly in a major drought at this point and we know it will have an impact on the corn crop. Of course who knows how significant that will be? The next crop report ought to be very interesting.

Our results show that 39 percent think we should Modify for lower ethanol production, 31 percent think No change and 30 percent chose Eliminate entirely. What do you think? Is it a little premature to call for a change?

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “Will you use the cloud to store your data?” We’re now seeing cloud based data storage specifically designed for the ag industry and there are a growing number of options to store and handle all those records, field maps, photos and more. Is the infrastructure and the services available up to the task? Your data is fast becoming one of your most valuable assets. How are you planning to handle that growth?

ZimmPoll is sponsored by Rhea+Kaiser, a full-service advertising/public relations agency.

Elliott Sadler Wins STP 300

Ethanol had another victory on the NASCAR track today when Elliott Sadler won the Nationwide Series STP 300. The race came out of caution with two laps to go so it made for an exciting finish. Placing 4th today was master agvocate Kenny Wallace, spokesperson for the Illinois Corn Growers Family Farmers.

After the race I asked Elliott what he thinks about racing on a fuel that’s made in part by Illinois corn
growers. He says the initiative that NASCAR has taken to go green in the last couple years is a great one. Since the track is surrounded by corn and soybeans he says, “It’s neat to see something in the field growing. I’m a farmer at home too.”

Then Richard Childress, RCR Racing, chimed in. “In NASCAR we’ve put in almost 4 million miles or maybe a little over by now on E15, American Ethanol blend of fuel. That says a lot for what E15 can do for your car.”

Listen to Elliott and Richard’s remarks here: Elliott Sadler & Richard Childress on Ethanol

Illinois Corn Growers NASCAR Weekend Photo Album

Green Flag for STP 300

E15 is on display again today at the NASCAR Nationwide STP 300 race in Joliet, IL. We had a few raindrops just before the green flag but it dissipated and the race is on.

Prior to the race I spent time with the Illinois Corn Growers Family Farmers High Performance Team. Spokesperson, Kenny Wallace, driver of the 09 car today was on hand. I recorded a conversation he had with Glenn Fritz that I thought you might enjoy. Kenny calls Glenn Fritz “the ultimate farmer.” We were located at Greenfields Campground owned by Glenn.

Glenn has a grandson on the farm that is now the 5th generation of the family on the land. He’s got an interesting story to tell and I hope you’ll enjoy listening to it.

Listen to Kenny and Glenn here: Kenny Wallace and Glenn Fritz

Illinois Corn Growers NASCAR Weekend Photo Album

Winner of American Ethanol 225

The winner of the American Ethanol 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race is James Buescher. He’s pictured here in Victory Lane at Chicagoland Speedway. Presenting the trophy is Chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board Bill Christ and Tricia Braid, Communications Director.

During the post race press conference I asked James what he thought of racing on a blend of home grown fuel made by corn farmers. He says “It’s really cool to be able to be part of NASCAR going green. It’s only positive. We’re helping the environment.” By the way, he had to have his carburetor replaced during the race!

Listen to James comment on ethanol here: James Buescher Remarks

Illinois Corn Growers NASCAR Weekend Photo Album

Farmer Waves Green Flag For American Ethanol 225

Illinois corn farmer Donna Jeschke got to wave the green flag for the American Ethanol 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race tonight. Donna is ending her term on the board of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board.

She found the experience to be exciting and just a little scary. She says this type of promotion puts what she does as a farmer out in front of the public to help them better understand where their food comes from.

This is just the first race of an ethanol sponsored weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. You’ll be able to find more interviews over the next few days on the Illinois Corn Growers Corn Corps Blog.

Listen to my interview with Donna here: Interview with Donna Jeschke

Listen to the race invocation and national anthem here: Invocation/National Anthem

Listen to Mark Marquis, Marquis Energy, make the “Drivers, start your engines” call here: Start Your Engines

Illinois Corn Growers NASCAR Weekend Photo Album

Ethanol and Farmers on NASCAR Track

It’s NASCAR race weekend in Joliet, IL at Chicagoland Speedway. My home today and tomorrow. I’m joining the Illinois Corn Growers and Family Farmers for two races. First up will be tonight’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series American Ethanol 225.

Then on Sunday we’ve got the second annual STP 300 which is part of the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The Sprint Cup Series has the weekend off.

Family Farmers cannot be missed at the event, with a 17,000 square foot exhibit area onsite to be complemented with both a Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series “Family Farmers” entry. This work is aimed at improving the trust between consumers and family farmers. In corn checkoff funded research, it was revealed that most influential people in the Chicago area think that corporations own most of the farms in Illinois. This erodes the base of support among that same group for issues that are important to farmers regarding regulations, food safety, transportation, and trade.

I’ll be hanging out with Kenny Wallace and Illinois Corn Growers this afternoon. Kenny will be driving the #99 Family Farmers car in the STP 300.

“Chicagoland Speedway is a great track for me. We finished seventh in this race last year with our Family Farmers Toyota Camry. Since they closed Gateway International Raceway in 2010, Chicago has become sort of like a home track for me since it is only about four hours away from my hometown of St. Louis. Not only that, but it is the home of Family Farmers and American Ethanol, so I want to run well for them and I feel confident that we will run well.”

So, look for photos and interviews later today and tomorrow from an Illinois NASCAR weekend. See you from the track.

Has Your Business Considered Using Pinterest

Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Do you prefer corn sugar to high fructose corn syrup?” In what is a first for our poll, the response was split evenly! See the chart below.

Recently the FDA denied a request from the Corn Refiners Association to allow food labels to use the term corn sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. Nutritionally, there is no difference in regular table sugar and HFCS so I don’t see why FDA ruled like they did. Their reasoning had to do with their definition of sugar as a crystalline solid. This is basically a public relations war over words since the “problem” with either cane or corn sugar is how much someone consumes. Nothing wrong with cane sugar or corn sugar, regardless what you call it, in my opinion. I like them both. Apparently consumers like HFCS better according to this story. What do you think? We like all uses of corn and sweetener is one of them as well as ethanol!

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “Does your business have an interest in Pinterest?” This online pinboard is now being used by political campaigns to target key demographics. Even President Obama’s wife is using it! Seems like there might be some good reason for agribusinesses, farm and food groups to start pinning away. How about it biofuels groups? Are you using it to help educate the public?

ZimmPoll is sponsored by Rhea+Kaiser, a full-service advertising/public relations agency.

Farmers Benefit From Atrazine Settlement

Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Is Atrazine lawsuit settlement good for farmers?” We posed this question after a lawsuit against Syngenta related to the herbicide was settled with an offer of over $100 million by the company, even thought there has been no evidence of harm in drinking water caused by the product and the plaintiffs in the lawsuit acknowledged they had not commissioned any research on the subject or seen any new research to the contrary either.

Our poll results: Sixty percent said Yes, time to move on; twenty eight percent said No, still other challenges and twelve percent chose Other.

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “Do you prefer corn sugar to high fructose corn syrup?” Recently the FDA denied a request from the Corn Refiners Association to allow food labels to use the term corn sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. Nutritionally, there is no difference in regular table sugar and HFCS so I don’t see why FDA ruled like they did. There reasoning had to do with their definition of sugar as a crystalline solid. This is basically a public relations war over words since the “problem” with both substances is how much someone consumes. Nothing wrong with cane sugar or corn sugar in my opinion. I like them both. Apparently consumers like HFCS better according to this story. What do you think?

ZimmPoll is sponsored by Rhea+Kaiser, a full-service advertising/public relations agency.

Child Nutrition Should be Parents Responsibility

Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Who should be responsible for child nutrition?” I am all for good food nutrition for our children. But who is responsible? It seems like the government thinks it should have some control. I’ve heard and read lots of people saying we need more nutrition education. But don’t we have more than enough of that? How long has USDA made good nutrition information available? But we still see the problem of overeating. So, here’s what our poll found. 72% said Parents! I say, amen to that. Of course then you might ask why aren’t parents doing a better job of controlling what their kids eat. 24% said All of the above and 4% said Schools and no one chose specifically Government or Nutritionists. Interesting results.

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “Which group should restaurants consider experts on animal care?” This past weekend many folks in agriculture participated in an online thank you campaign for Domino’s Pizza. Why? Because the restaurant chain made a decision based on good humane animal practices and did not give in to the demands of the animal activist group HSUS. So, let us know your thoughts on this question. We appreciate it.

ZimmPoll is sponsored by Rhea+Kaiser, a full-service advertising/public relations agency.

Contact Your Local Reporters

Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “When was the last time you talked to a journalist about agriculture?” The question was inspired by an AgChat Twitter conversation question that had been submitted by @BASFAgro! We’re supposed to stand up for our industry and livelihoods that are threatened by lots of misinformation that gets spread by the media. What are we doing about it? How are we speaking out? Are we willing to develop a relationship with the reporters at our local mainstream media outlets (newspaper/radio/tv/web)? We appreciate responses from those in the ethanol industry. Glad to hear some of you are taking this time to do this.

Here are the results, 50% said Recently (I do frequently). Wow. Keep it up. But 22% said Never (Waste of time) and just over 9%/each said, Recently (I rarely do); Long time ago; Never (I will now though).

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “Who should be responsible for child nutrition?” This question was inspired by last night’s FoodChat Twitter conversation. I appreciate the school lunch program and what USDA thinks it is accomplishing by creating rules but somehow it doesn’t sit right with me. There would be no need for this if parents would take some personal responsibility for themselves and their children. More and more government control of our lives just won’t work in the long run. At least that’s my opinion. What’s yours?

ZimmPoll is sponsored by Rhea+Kaiser, a full-service advertising/public relations agency.

Develop Relationship With Your Local Reporters

Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Should raw milk be allowed for sale?” The question was prompted by one of the panelists at the 2012 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit. She is a reporter with a food safety publication who says that this issue is the one that gets the most comments and response of any other. This question generated the most comments of any ZimmPoll to date so I understand what she was saying. Actually, most comments wanted a 4th response option to allow the sale of raw milk but with sufficient regulation and testing to ensure it is safe. I saw the comments too late to make that change so I don’t know if these results would have been different. So the answer, Absolutely with no regulation received 66%; On a very limited and regulated basis received 20% and Definitely not, too many health concerns received 14%. Surprised? I’m thinking that we not only have a lot of raw milk lovers in the ZimmComm News Network community but they are very active at getting others to vote! This poll also had one of the highest number of responses we’ve had so far. Why do you think that is?

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “When was the last time you talked to a journalist about agriculture?” The question is inspired by last night’s AgChat Twitter conversation and a question that had been submitted by @BASFAgro! We’re supposed to stand up for our industry and livelihoods that are threatened by lots of misinformation that gets spread by the media. Just consider how corn ethanol is portrayed so often in the media as an example. What are we doing about it? How are we speaking out? This need is why Domestic Fuel was started originally. Are we willing to develop a relationship with the reporters at our local mainstream media outlets (newspaper/radio/tv/web)? More questions I know but there is a lot we can all do to help educate the ultimate consumers of the products we produce. Keep it up. It does make a difference!

Let your friends and neighbors know they can participate by sharing this link.

ZimmPoll is sponsored by Rhea+Kaiser, a full-service advertising/public relations agency.

NCGA Ethanol Rocks Video Contest

A little ethanol on the rocks kind of rocks my world sometimes. But Ethanol Rocks is actually a National Corn Growers Association video contest :).

NCGA is conducting a nationwide competition to promote the advantages of ethanol in motor vehicles. The NCGA “Ethanol Rocks” Video Contest invites high school and college students to produce a promotional video that highlights the benefits of this fuel. NCGA acknowledges the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association for sharing its success with the “Fuel the Future” video competition.

Eligibility

Active high school (grades 9-12) and college students, individually or collectively, are eligible to submit entries. One $1,500 first place award and one $500 second place award will be issued in both the high school and the college level categories. Each award will be issued as one lump-sum payment, i.e., no multiple distributions of winnings. Students from all scholastic backgrounds/majors are eligible to enter, individually or through organizations, e.g., A/V classes, Ag Clubs, FFA, Science Clubs, Art Classes. Appropriate tax on the awards will be the responsibility of the winners.

Get more information here and entry form/rules here.

Planting Corn

Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “With all of the discussion on projected corn acres this year, how many acres of corn do you expect to plant this year?” A full third of respondents said More than 2,000 acres. That was followed by less than 200 acres at 27%; 200-500 acres at 23%; 1,501-2,000 at 7%; 1,001-1,500 at 7% and 501-1,000 at 3%. Looks like we have a wide cross section of corn growers in the ZimmComm News Network community!

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “Should raw milk be allowed for sale?” This week’s question is prompted by one of the panelists here at the 2012 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit. She is a reporter with a food safety publication who says that this issue is the one that gets the most comments and response of any other. Seems people get pretty passionate about their beliefs when it comes to milk. Raw milk is still the suspect in an E. Coli breakout with 14 confirmed cases in central Missouri that put a couple of people in the hospital. What do you think?

Let your friends and neighbors know they can participate by sharing this link.

ZimmPoll is sponsored by Rhea+Kaiser, a full-service advertising/public relations agency.

What Are Corn Growing Plans

Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Would you be willing to donate the proceeds from one acre of your farm to help your local food bank?” Apparently we have some very generous farmers out there since 61% said Yes and 39% said No. Of course they may be many areas that don’t even have a local food bank too. I don’t know. But we sure appreciate everyone who participated!

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “With all of the discussion on projected corn acres this year, how many acres of corn do you expect to plant this year?” So how about it corn growers. I wonder how many will grow corn for the first time this year too. Should be interesting. Let your corn growing friends and neighbors to know we’d like to know what they plan and remember this is an anonymous poll! Use this link to share.

ZimmPoll is sponsored by Rhea+Kaiser, a full-service advertising/public relations agency.

Lots of Ag Job Opportunities & Energy Near Top of List

Our latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “Where are best job opportunities in agribusiness?” Some people have become doubtful of the opportunities in the industry for some reason. They shouldn’t have those doubts though. Here’s what our poll results showed. Most picked Biotech at 28% with Energy coming in second at 21%. They were followed by Agronomy at 17%, Sales/Marketing/Communications at 15%, Dairy at 7% and both Crop Protection and Equipment at 6% each.

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, “Would you be willing to donate the proceeds from one acre of your farm to help your local food bank?” Let us know what you think and thanks to everyone who participates in our weekly poll!

ZimmPoll is sponsored by Rhea+Kaiser, a full-service advertising/public relations agency.