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Agrimarketing : May 2008 Special Supplement
gain by the increased employment opportunities updating the river sys- tem promised. “They were a great partner and brought a lot to the table to get the legislation passed and signed into law last year.” SUCCESSES/DISAPPOINTMENTS Last year was a watershed one for NCGA and its members with a long list of successes, including record production and prices. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Conner has characterized the results of Congress in 2007 as fairly lackluster—except in agriculture. The energy bill, Water Resources Development Act, free trade agree- ments and developing a farm bill are examples of legislation Congress passed and paid attention to in 2007. And NCGA helped lead the charge for all of them—benefiting corn growers and all of agriculture. But along with the successes have come some disappointments. “The biggest one is the misinfor- mation that is out there about biofu- els,” Tolman says. He has made unyielding efforts to dispel the food and fuel myths surrounding corn- based ethanol. Editorial board visits, op-ed writing, dissemination of talk- ing points, fact sheets, brochures, white papers and participation on panels are among the outreach efforts he and NCGA’s grower- lead- ers embarked upon to set the record straight. Not one to shy away from a chal- lenge Tolman agreed to debate food versus fuel activist Lester Brown in a public forum. Unfortunately, Brown was unable to attend. When United Nations official Jean Ziegler called corn for ethanol a “crime against humanity,” Tolman blasted back, calling his remarks “irresponsible” and calling for him to step down from his post. Recognizing the food and fuel issue affects more than just corn pro- ducers, Tolman rallied the troops in agriculture and reached out to agribusiness partners, academics, economists, media and others with fact sheets, white papers and other information and encouraged these groups to disseminate the correct story through their rank and file. LOOKING AHEAD “Agriculture has an exciting story to tell,” he says. “With the new tech- nologies being introduced each year, both on the input and usage side, it will provide a wonderful career for young people in the years ahead.” Weather will continue to be a key factor in corn prices and production and resulting in the market moving in wider ranges over the coming years. That will require corn produc- ers and purchasers to be much more responsive to the marketplace, pro- viding new educational opportuni- ties for NCGA.“While the general economy is limping along,” he says, “our industry has shown significant growth and record-making profits. That allows our growers to re-invest in their future to assure a steady sup- ply of the nation’s number one crop: corn.” “We can make anything out of corn that is being made from imported oil,” Tolman states. Con- sidering the importation of oil is now a trillion dollar industry that trans- lates into a huge future opportunity for U.S. corn growers. The industry is fortunate to have the Agribusiness Leader of the Year at the helm to help make it a reality. AM 6 AgriMarketing ¦ May 2008 2008 NAMA AGRIBUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR /continued from page 5 CBIZ & MHM Congratulate Rick Tolman National Corn Growers Association 913-234-1900 www.mhm-pc.com 913-234-1000 www.cbizkc.com Rick was named the 2008 National Agri-Marketing Association’s Agribusiness Leader of the Year 24/7 ADVOCATE NCGA CEO Rick Tolman is eas- ily spotted in the vehicle he dri- ves. A 2005 GMC Yukon which sports a “corn field/U.S. flag/ Ethanol” painted skin (see front cover). “It normally brings either a smile or a quizzical look from the public when they see me drive by,” Tolman says. He carries a box of educa- tional brochures about ethanol in it and will pass them out to fellow drivers when re-fueling or at other stops.