Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Corn mission report from Japan

**I am also blogging for the Nebraska Corn Kernels and Grain Board blogs, so some of this information is duplicated from those blogs**

We made it safely to Tokyo, Japan for our first stop on the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) Corn Mission 2010 delegation. Today, the group met with U.S. Embassy Officials and several trade organizations and importers of U.S. corn and dried distillers grains (DDGS).

The two officials from the U.S. Embassy, Office of Agricultural Affairs were Geoffrey Wiggin, Agricultural Minister-Counselor and Jeff Nawn, Senior Agricultural Attache’. Wiggin and Nawn both commented that there has been positive open dialog between U.S. and Japanese regulators to have science as the basis of approvals in terms of biotech commodities, and have a food safety commission to do scientific reviews on policies for food safety. Both expressed the concern for feeding the world as population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050.

Meetings with importers of U.S. corn and DDGS were important to share the message of an improved 2010 corn crop. The delegation met with the Japan Feed Trade Association (JFTA), Japan Feed Manufacturers Association (JFMA), Japan Starch and Sweeteners Industry Association (JSSIA), Japan Corn Grits Association (JCGA), and Japan Snack and Cereal Foods Association (JSCFA), where the delegation provided updates on U.S. corn production, supply and demand and impact of ethanol production and demand from emerging markets.

The major concern for all of the associations was the low quality of 2009 U.S. corn, in terms of vomitoxin, BCFM, moisture and protein content. The delegation confirmed any doubts about the 2010 crop to these organizations and assured that quality is much improved.

“Our 2009 crop was one of the worst years, in terms of quality to export, that farmers in the Corn Belt have ever seen, but we really believe we are back to producing better corn than ever and the future looks promising.” said Kent Kleinschmidt, of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board. “As U.S. corn producers were able to the get 2010 crop out in a timely manner and work the ground, we have an even more positive outlook for 2011’s corn crop.”

Tonight we ate Japanese "hot pot" for dinner. It was a very delicious variety of beef, pork, chicken, vegetables, rice noodles and tofu The boiling broths cook the meat and veggies, kind of like an Asian fondue. The portion on the left was traditional Japanese broth, and on the right was the spicy broth, which I preferred, to cook the meat and vegetables in.

Tomorrow we are taking a bullet train to Ishinomaki City to visit a feed mill and port where U.S. corn arrives.

Check out USGC's Flickr page for more pictures or follow members of the 2010 Corn Mission on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A wildcat family weekend

This past weekend, Ronny and I traveled to Colorado for the K-State vs. CU football game, and the Frasier Family Reunion. Whenever there is a football game in Boulder, our family tries to get together at the family's dairy farm....I should say, the dairy farm my Great Grandpa Elmer owned, which is now in the middle of Boulder and doesn't resemble a farm at all! What is now on that old farm is a retirement home, condos, a shopping center, a church, a school, and a park with a pond. You can see some of the buildings in the background of the family pictures. Above is pictured the entire family that was able to be present.

My Great Grandpa was a true businessman and saw the potential of that farm to someday be valuable property - now Frasier Meadows. Most of our family are K-State fans, so it made for an easy excuse to get together at the K-State vs. CU games at Frasier Meadows. Now that CU has left the Big 12, we're going to have to come up with another good excuse to get together on the family property.

We also took a few immediate family pictures as the photographer was so gracious to take time and have fun with us. The photographer was Cheryl from Lifetime in Focus as I need to credit her for the photos.
This one, by far, was the most fun!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Howlin’ Hank

Lately, Ronny and I have gotten our dog, Hank, to howl when we start to howl. He really gets into it and loves to throw his head back like a coyote!

I finally got it captured tonight and had to share.


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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Headed to the East


I’ve really only shared with family and some friends that I will be traveling to Asia right after Thanksgiving. This is a trip that I’m going on to represent Nebraska Corn, as part of the 2010 Corn Mission through the U.S. Grains Council. The USGC has a consulate office in each of the countries we’ll be visiting – Japan, Taiwan and China – and will have meetings with their staff and U.S. Embassy officials.

We will be first traveling to Japan. We’ll be meeting with the Japan Feed Manufacturers Association, the Japan Feed Trade Association, The Japan Starch & Sweeteners Association and the Japan Corn Grits Association. I’m most looking forward to visiting a Japanese feed mill and cattle feedlot in Ishinomaki City!

Then, we’ll hop on a plane to Taipei, Taiwan. Once there, we’ll be meeting with the American Institute in Taiwan, a lunch discussion with traders, buyers and users of U.S. corn, meeting with the Taiwan Feed Industry Association and the Good Flag Biotechnology Corporation. We’ll get to meet with a bioplastics corp. that imports NatureWorks bioplastics made in Blair, Nebr., and visit a sow farm and layer farm.

Then, we’ll hop on another plane to Shanghai, China. We will meet with some more trade organizations that import U.S. corn and distillers grains as well as visiting a sea port where corn and DDGS are shipped in and hopefully see an U.S. corn shipment.

I will be regularly blogging for the Nebraska Corn Kernels blog, so check it out starting November 28th through December 10th, and if I have time I will put posts here.

I have been to China in summer 2008 with my sister’s youth symphony, but I’m really looking forward to this exciting trip to see how global our world really is, and how agricultural ties everyone together. I would appreciate prayers for travels and for my lonely husband and dog – although I know they already have plans to do some fun stuff while I’m gone!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cuisinart Hand Blender, Chopper and Whisk: Take 1


From my parents for my birthday, I received this cool little kitchen tool – a Cuisinart hand blender with a chopper and whisk attachment.

I’m going to try to do a series of things I’ve made using this handy little tool!

First, I’ll start with making hummus (plus mom wanted the recipe!). I used to be scared of hummus because I thought it was the strangest word that kind of grossed me out – I still think it’s a weird word – but I really like how it tastes and it’s relatively healthy! Hummus served with some Wheat Thins is the best.

So here are the ingredients:

1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Kosher salt to taste

In my chopper attachment, I threw in the chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) and garlic with the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin and salt and use the pulse option until smooth and creamy. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water as necessary to achieve the desired consistency. (I leave the water out because I like it really thick.)

Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the paprika before serving. Enjoy!

Take 1 complete.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Do the Hustle

This morning was the Holiday Hustle – a 5-mile run in Valparaiso, Nebraska. My friends Shelley and Kim came with me, and we braved the brisk morning for the run.

We ran on the Oak Creek Trail which is a very nice, crushed-rock trail that runs between Valparaiso and the town of Brainard – about 12 miles. We just rain 2.5 out and back, but it was beautiful scenery. 
Holiday Hustle 2010-me, shelley & kim(1)

{Me, Shelley and Kim}

There weren’t very many in the run (30 or so) but I somehow received 2nd place in my age division. My first running medal! :)

Holiday Hustle 2010-medal

This was the first year for the Holiday Hustle and it benefited the Raymond Central Elementary School’s backpack program in conjunction with the Food Bank for the 2010-2011 school year.

When in Texas…

…it is necessary for a cowgirl to purchase cowgirl boots.

These may not be your normal leather, snakeskin, gator or ostrich boots – but they are still boots!


They’re called Rain Bops and are totally rubber rain boots! They also have great traction and will work great at keeping my feet dry and warm when I walk my four blocks to work this winter.

The reason I was in Texas (Dallas) this week was for the U.S. Meat Export Federation Annual Meeting. We stayed in the historic Hotel Adolphus and this ADORABLE chair was in my hotel room. I really wished I could have shipped it home!