From the Michigan Corn Growers Assoc.
The year 2012 will be known as one that established a placeholder for discussions for years to come. For those of us involved in production agriculture, it will be one of those years we will never forget and continue to talk about, much like the Dust Bowl years and 1988.
Despite early-season speculations that painted a dismal picture for Michigan’s corn harvest, yields in some areas, such as the northern growing areas, had some reports of more than 200 bushels per acre. For the rest of the state it seemed a line from Muskegon to Lansing, south to Ann Arbor and all points south, ended with yields 50-75 percent of normal trend yields.
A typical comment, however, was “the crop was a lot better than what we were expecting.” We think anyone would agree that today’s genetics was the main reason why corn performed better than anticipated.
We are awaiting the final production numbers and anticipate a 20 percent drop from last season. We are all hoping and praying that 2013 is not a repeat of 2012.
In 2012, Michigan Corn had the distinguished opportunity to host both U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for a roundtable discussion on issues important to the ag industry. We covered topics of credit, farm program, crop insurance, renewable fuels and the farm bill.
The farm bill was big on our agenda, as we tried to encourage our Congress members to persuade leadership to take up the vote and pass the farm bill. The farm bill quickly became overshadowed by the created fiscal cliff and, as of this writing, is still not resolved.
Michigan Corn also experienced personnel changes in 2012, as Jim Zook was named the new executive director in June. We also lost personnel, with Val Vail-Shirey returning to her lobbying firm and taking on executive director duties for the Michigan Allied Poultry Assoc. and Michigan Floriculture. We wish Val well and thank her for her service and support of our state’s corn industry.
Michigan Corn was fortunate to enter into a contract with Natalie Rector to oversee and direct the research funded through the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan (CMPM). Natalie, who is well known in Michigan’s ag community, brings a wealth of experience and dedication, as well as a reputation and ability to get things done, to the organization.
The staff at Michigan Corn hopes you all have a happy holiday season and a prosperous and healthy 2013.
Looking ahead to 2013
As we look ahead to a new year, there are many other new and exciting changes ahead for Michigan Corn that will help us better serve our growers and ag partners.
In February, Michigan Corn will debut a new and improved website as well as an expansion plan in social media communications to help get information out quickly to our growers, partners, the media and consumers. We also hope to strengthen and expand our partnership with other ag groups to help us stay better informed about activities and issues in other areas of Michigan agriculture.
Legislatively, we will be keeping an eye on numerous pieces of legislation that will impact the Michigan corn industry, including Senate Bill 1083, which addresses underground utility notification. SB 1083 did meet with some resistance and was not acted upon, so therefore has expired, but it may be reintroduced when the new legislative sessions begins in January.
This bill would be restrictive on your ability to do normal tillage in your field, as you would have to contact MISS DIG before performing normal tillage work. We will keep you updated on any movement on this measure.
An important water bill the Michigan Corn Growers Assoc. (MCGA) supports has been approved by both chambers of the Michigan legislature and is expected to be signed by the governor. If signed into law, SB 1008 would put a process in place, through the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), to investigate and determine if a high-capacity well may be causing harm to surrounding wells.
A high-capacity well is one that extracts more than 100,000 gallons of water per day. SB 1008 would allow MDARD to fund the investigation, rather than the high-capacity well owner doing so; however, if the high-capacity well owner is found to have caused an issue beyond normal recharge levels, they will be assessed the investigation costs as well as the cost of resolution.
Coffee with Corn meeting in January
Michigan Corn’s annual Coffee with Corn meetings help provide an update to growers on important issues affecting the industry, and offer the opportunity to get involved.
Currently, three town hall-type meetings have been scheduled for January:
•Jan. 22: Hosted by Scott Miller at his farm at 6757 Warren Road in Elsie
•Jan. 23: Hosted by Ed Breitmeyer at Main Street Café on M-37 in Buckley
•Jan. 24: Hosted by Richard Dobbins at Sleepy Bear Winery, 2110 N. Concord Road in Albion
As part of the meetings, nominations will be accepted for the CMPM board of directors to fill open positions as district representatives. Nominees will be submitted to the governor’s office for his consideration and appointment to the CMPM board. The new board members will play a direct role in charting the future course of checkoff dollars through the CMPM.
The board invests in research, market development, education and new use projects. Those interested in the board position must grow corn within the district. If you are interested, please contact the Michigan Corn office for details on how to participate in any of the meetings.
Coffee with Corn is a great way for growers to connect with other local farmers and Michigan Corn board members and staff, to learn more about the corn industry and the challenges facing it. Michigan Corn holds Coffee with Corn meetings in farming communities throughout the state to bring growers who contribute to the state’s checkoff together to talk about issues of importance to corn farmers.
To request a Coffee with Corn meeting in your district, please call the Michigan Corn office at 517-668-2676.