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President's Message

Russel Schwenke, KyCorn President

After several years of great corn prices and some of the most profitable times in our careers, the other shoe is falling. Farmers are taking a look at what they have in store for prices over the next few years. If you are anything like me, you are getting a little apprehensive about your tightening crop budget and balance sheet.

It’s going to take a sharp pencil to survive the next few years, but it will also take prices bouncing back sooner rather than later. A primary function of KY Corn Growers is to encourage those prices to bounce back. From a variety of fronts, we have programs to keep our corn customers loyal to us and in healthy businesses.

The US Grains Council (USGC) is the export arm of the corn industry. At this particular time of low US corn prices, USGC is vital because of the fantastic opportunities at its hands to foster new customer relationships. KyCorn has personnel strategically placed throughout those efforts.

Philip McCoun from Shelby County, the chairman of our KY Corn Promotion Council, also chairs USGC’s Advisory Team on the Middle East and Africa. Also, Henry Sanger from Fulton County, a retired KyCorn board member, sits on the Biotechnology Advisory Team.

International buying relationships depend more on personal relationships than many people might think. The impact of face-to-face meetings with prospects and customers can’t be overstated.

So, last year, we welcomed several trade missions to Kentucky from across the globe. In the spring, White corn buyers from Mexico paid us a visit to become familiar with our farmers; trusting relationships were formed and transactions soon developed. We understand that sometimes it is about personal handshakes. We hope to see these business relationships last a long time; we’ll be working to ensure it.

In the summer, several owners of milling companies, both dry and wet mills, from Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines came here to see our technology in an effort to enhance their corn utilization. An Export Exchange Team from Turkey also visited with our leaders in the fall to understand how our inland waterways transportation system provides our pricing competitive advantage.

I am a cattleman as well as a corn farmer. And, I’m proud that livestock, by far, is the primary consumer of Kentucky corn. About 70 million bushels of the Kentucky corn crop feed animals each year. In my view, one of the best ways we can enhance that trend is to enhance those industries, both at home and abroad.

At home, we partner with our livestock commodity organizations to advocate in state and federal governments; we want lawmakers and regulators to be fair to their industries whether it be transportation laws or water regulations. We know that these efforts keep their profit barriers low. That keeps their businesses, our markets, strong.

For helping the livestock profitability effort abroad, KyCorn actively, and financially, participates with export organizations for livestock products. Similar to USGC, the US Meat Export Federation and the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council are the beef, pork, poultry and egg industries’ export agents.

Corn checkoff dollars help to fund their export efforts each year. And we regularly attend their meetings, to understand what makes their businesses work, and identify opportunities to work together.

As the Kentucky bourbon industry flourishes, we stay in constant communication with distilleries to make sure they understand the benefits of getting their ingredients from the most local source possible.

Our goal is for all Kentucky bourbon to be made from all Kentucky corn. We understand that it isn’t that simple, but we feel that it should be. We are confident that we are making some headway in proving Kentucky corn farmers’ commitment to supply them a complete, convenient source of high-quality grain.

All of these efforts are in the name of corn farmers because we know our markets are a roller coaster, right now we are gripping tightly to that safety bar, but hopefully soon we’ll be back holding our arms in the air.

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Lifetime Membership Promotion Sweepstakes

AAny member who joins or upgrades their KyCGA membership to LIFETIME will be entered in a drawing for 1 week use of a track hoe or 2 weeks use of a skid steer! The promotion runs through January 2015 and the winner will be announced at the 2015 Kentucky Commodity Conference in Bowling Green. Special thanks to Whayne Supply Company for their full sponsorship of this promotion.

Learn more about Whayne by visiting

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Kentucky Corn Promotion Council
PO Box 90, Eastwood, KY 40018


Phone: 800-326-0906
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