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Agrimarketing : May 2008 Special Supplement
H eadquartered in the St. Louis suburb of Chesterfield, MO, the National Corn Growers Asso- ciation (NCGA) celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. NCGA employs approximately 30 people in its head- quarters and ten in its Washington, D.C., office. NCGA is the largest national nonprofit organization representing U.S. corn growers. Funded through the checkoff investments of corn pro- ducers nationwide, NCGA operates under the leadership of its dedicated growers. NCGA has helped stimu- late significant advancements in ethanol, biotechnology, farm and rural development, research and business development, production, stewardship and trade. “We’ve been working diligently to expand markets for corn, such as ethanol and plastics, while maintain- ing our traditional markets such as food, livestock feed and exports,” says NCGA President Ron Litterer, a corn grower located near Greene, IA. “In the future, we’re looking to expand to other products as well.” Corn producers and NCGA enjoyed a banner year in 2007. The demand for U.S. corn reached a record high, fueled by the expanding ethanol sector and a strong global market. In response, farmers planted some 93.6 million acres of corn — the most since 1944 — and produced a bin-busting record crop of 13.1 bil- lion bushels. These positive contri- butions are felt beyond the corn fields, however, as evidenced by strong prices in several commodities, growth in exports and legislation favorable to agriculture. HISTORY Armed with vision, Walter Goeppinger , a corn grower from Boone, IA, headed to Washington, D.C, in 1956 to discuss corn’s over- supply and dropping prices with a subcommittee of the House Agricul- ture Committee and President Dwight D. Eisenhower . During his visit, it became apparent that corn growers needed a unified voice to increase public recognition, appreci- ation and political support. At the time, no organization focused solely on corn. Since other single-commodity associations had been successful in securing markets, Goeppinger felt a group reflecting corn grower interests could be effec- tive too. He invited agricultural lead- ers from a handful of Corn Belt states to discuss the possibility of starting an organization for corn growers alone. In 1957, NCGA was formed by farmers from nine states. The group elected Goeppinger as president at the first annual meeting and a head- quarters office was opened in Boone. In 1984, leaders moved the head- quarters from Iowa and established a national office in St. Louis, MO. The grassroots heritage NCGA was founded upon is as evident today as it was over 50 years ago. Membership is growing and the association continuously evolves and holds true to founder Goeppinger’s belief that NCGA should further the use of corn through research, market development and promotion. MISSION AND VISION NCGA’s mission is to create and increase opportunities for corn grow- ers. The organization represents approximately 33,000 dues-paying corn growers and the interests of more than 300,000 farmers who invest in state corn checkoff pro- grams. NCGA and its 48 affiliated state associations and checkoff orga- nizations work to advance and pro- tect corn producers’ interests. “Our membership has always been very progressive and not afraid of change,” explains NCGA Chair- man Ken McCauley, a corn grower located near White Cloud, KS. “This approach has led to the creation of new markets like ethanol, and has paved the way for the future of new bioproducts.” NCGA is the leading voice for corn growers in promoting biotech- nology products to U.S. and interna- tional government leaders. The orga- nization supports farm policy and advocates to ensure government pol- icy is fair for farmers competing in a global economy. Another important priority is working to open new mar- kets through trade and providing access by improving our nation’s transportation systems. “Corn growers have been suc- cessful in achieving higher produc- tion and yields through technology and improved agronomic practices in recent years,” reports Litterer. 8 AgriMarketing ¦ May 2008 2008 NAMA AGRIBUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR NCGA: SUCCESSFULLY REPRESENTING THE NATION’S LARGEST CROP by Christina Koboldt, Marketing Manager, NCGA (more on page 10) NCGA Corn Board officers and staff met with Sec’y of Ag Ed Schafer at last winter’s Commodity Classic (l to r) Bob Dickey, 1st VP; Ken McCauley, Chairman; Ron Litterer, Pres; Sec’y Schafer; Rick Tolman, CEO, and Jon Doggett, VP/Public Policy.