EPA Ups Corn Ethanol Targets

Nov 27, 2016
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media/File photo

The Environmental Protection Agency has increased the amount of renewable fuels that must be blended into the nation’s fuel supply next year, by nearly six percent. For Harvest Public Media, Sarah Boden reports on what this means for corn and soybean producers.

Every year, the EPA adjusts the amount renewable fuel it requires oil refiners to pump into our gas. After initially signaling lower renewable fuel goals, the agency reversed course.

Crop Watch / University of Nebraska

Farmers in Kansas are dealing with a disease that can damage corn and has been confirmed in the U.S. for the first time. As Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock reports, it appears to be spreading in the heart of the Corn Belt.

liz west, flickr Creative Commons

A new genetically engineered corn variety developed by one of the world’s largest seed companies won’t undergo the same review by regulators as other GMO crops.

Researchers for DuPont Pioneer used a new technology called CRISPR-Cas to edit the genes of a waxy corn, which is used in processed foods and adhesives.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the variety is exempt for normal regulation, essentially because the technology edits the corn’s own genome, it doesn’t add genes from other plants.

Lane Permian, flickr Creative Commons

Midwest farmers are expected to plant a huge corn crop this year. As Harvest Public Media’s Kristofor Husted reports, that could impact the farm economy.

Prices for staples like corn and soybeans have been sliding in recent years thanks to oversupply.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts farmers will plant nearly 94 million acres of corn this season. That’s up 6 percent from last year and is the third highest planted acreage in the U.S. since the 1940s.

liz west, flickr Creative Commons

Hundreds of lawsuits against seed company Syngenta could evolve into a major class action and involve almost every corn farmer in the country.

In 2013, China rejected some American imports because they contained corn grown from a seed with a genetically engineered Syngenta trait. The trait was approved for sale in the United States, but China’s regulators had not yet approved it.

China is a huge market for US corn. Lawyers have filed many cases on behalf of farmers seeking compensation from Syngenta for lost sales.

Farm Acres Drop In 2015

Jan 19, 2016
Matthias Ripp, flickr Creative Commons

The number of acres farmers used to grow crops plummeted in 2015. It was the biggest year to year drop in almost three decades.

Farmers throughout the country’s Midwestern corn and wheat belt had to contend with an extremely wet planting season in 2015. And U.S. Department of Agriculture statistician Lance Honig says with depressed crop prices, it was a tough year for some growers.

“More production is always better than less production from an economic health perspective if you’re a producer," Honig says.

A new government forecast says Kansas farmers are on track to harvest 38 percent more corn than a year ago.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service reports the state's corn crop should in at about 525 million bushels.

Farmers are cutting 4.2 million acres of corn this season, which is up 6 percent from last year. Yields are also far better at 125 bushels per acre. That's 29 bushels an acre more than a year ago.