Lei Fang received top honors in the Gary Lamie Student Poster Competition with Larry Hoffmann, NCGA Research and Business Development Action Team Chairman

Big Ideas Come on Small Posters at Corn Utilization Conference


A graduate student from Iowa State University took home the top prize in the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Utilization and Technology Conference 2016 Poster contest held in St. Louis, Mo. recently. Lei Fang received top honors in the Gary Lamie Student Poster Competition, sponsored by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council for his work on increased oil recovery during ethanol fermentation and downstream processing.


“This is a premier scientific conference on corn wet and dry milling and new uses for corn, so it is appropriate that we also have a high caliber poster competition like this,” said NCGA Research and Business Development Action Team Chairman Larry Hoffmann during the awards presentation. “The National Corn Growers Association is pleased to lend our support, encouragement and a cash stipend to young researchers who are shaping the future of this important industry.”


The second place award was presented to David Orrego and Dahewan Kim of Purdue University. The Purdue Tandem are researching more efficient corn separation during processing which improves starch recovery, reduces enzyme use and saves energy during ethanol production. Their work is also designed to introduce cellulose ethanol production into an existing corn to ethanol facility by hydrolyzing and fermenting the pericarp or the top portion of a corn kernel to ethanol.


Third place went to Z.E. Carlson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This year’s contest attracted 29 student entries. A panel of industry and academic experts evaluated the posters on their relevance to the corn industry, scientific originality, viable and supportable conclusions and oral and visual presentation. The judges reviewed entries that detailed research well above average in their significance to the industry.  Due to the impressive quality of the entries, multiple rounds of judging were necessary to select the winners.

A separate poster session for research professionals addressing mycotoxins in corn was conducted concurrently with the student competition. The Mycotoxin Poster winners are:


1st Place – Joseph Noonan, Mississippi State

2nd Place – Tabyta Sabchuk, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

3rd Place – Felicia Parish, Mississippi State


Noonan’s research focuses on identifying corn genes and proteins that are resistant to feeding by southwestern corn borer and fall armyworm as well as being resistant to A. flavus infection and aflatoxin accumulation. Significant aflatoxin contamination complicates the handling of corn and can reduces limit is marketability and value.


Addressing aflatoxin in DDGS, a high protein feed co-product from ethanol production, is the focus of Sabchuk’s work. She is developing hydrothermal processing that uses heat to reduce aflatoxin as well improving feed characteristics.


Held on a biennial basis, CUTC is recognized as an important forum for exchanging ideas and networking with an international audience of 250 experts from agricultural industry, academia, associations and government.

Why do people attend CUTC?

“I think most people attend because it is a unique Conference that is laser-focused on important innovations and challenges relevant to the wet and dry corn milling industry. It’s an opportunity that only comes around every two years to visit with the best minds in the industry in both formal and informal settings. Our surveying of past participants shows four major reasons people should consider attending.” Dr. Richard Vierling – Director of Research, National Corn Growers Association.


  1. It’s a showcase for the latest in research into new uses for corn.
  2. Researchers from the public and private sector get to share and interact face-to-face
  3. Manufacturers who supply and service the processing industry are on hand to answer questions and discuss challenges with their customers.
  4. Top tier graduate students attend as well as their potential future employers so it serves as a career marketplace.

Listen: 2014 Attendee Brian Burris, Customer Service Manager North America of Novasep, Inc. shares his thoughts on CUTC.




NCGA's Off the Cob Finds Out Why Longtime Exhibitor Values CUTC


Off the Cob caught up with ITOCHU Chemicals America Sales and Marketing Manager Rick Muschi, a longtime exhibitor at the National Corn Growers Association's Corn Utilization and Technology Conference. During this audio interview, Muschi discusses what his company gains from CUTC participation, how this biennial conference presents a unique opportunity and why he would suggest others exhibit as well.


"What is nice about CUTC is that it brings everyone together," he explains. "From different companies to major players in the industry all attending one show at one time in the same location, it is a great opportunity to network. For me, CUTC has been a great experience as a whole."


To listen to the full interview, click here.


Held in St. Louis, Missouri this June 6 through 8, CUTC features scientists, researchers, farmers and industry leaders on the cutting edge of technology in the corn industry. In addition to riveting sessions, CUTC features exciting exhibits and the Gary Lamie Student Poster Competition.


A premiere event in the corn industry, CUTC has gained industry-wide recognition as the preeminent forum for idea exchange and international networking for corn industry experts.


Mycotoxin Task Force



For more information about CUTC email Sandra Wright or call (636) 733-9004 ext. 119