The National Corn Utilization Conference is being held in Indiana this week. The annual conference, sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association, brings together some of the top researchers from around the nation who are working on new innovations for corn. President of NCGA Gary Niemeyer says this research is not only increasing corn production but is also finding new products that can be made from corn, “Everyone thinks of ethanol, but this new research is showing many different chemicals can be made from corn.” Niemeyer admits much of the science at the conference is over his head, but he knows that it represents more markets and opportunities for corn growers. He said it is also important to showcase these innovations to draw attention to the importance of continued funding for this kind of research.
Mike Shuter, a Hoosier corn farmer and president of the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, says these new products mean new markets for his crop, “We are not going to continue to see the kind of growth in the ethanol market we have seen the past few years, and we keep producing more corn all the time. So we need to find new uses and new markets for this crop.” Shuter says having the 3 day conference in Indiana will allow Indiana corn growers show off some of the technology their checkoff dollars have helped support, “There is some great research at Purdue that we have helped sponsor, and some of that will some of that will be showcased at this conference.” ICMC sponsored the opening reception of the meeting.
The keynote speaker for the opening session of the conference on Monday evening was Dr. Mike Ladisch, Distinguished Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University. Technical presentations on Tuesday dealt with renewable fuel, cellulosic ethanol, new corn processing technology, aflatoxin control, and biorefineries. Presentations will continue on Wednesday in Indianapolis.