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Agrimarketing : May 2008 Special Supplement
“And we’ve renewed our focus on sustainability and the environmental side of crop production. Farmers are the first stewards of the land and we are committed to doing the best job of this as we can.” ORGANIZATION STRUCTURE NCGA is a federation of state organi- zations that develops and imple- ments programs and policies on a state and national level. There’s no doubt NCGA’s strength comes from its grassroots. Action teams and committees are charged with imple- menting and executing member states’ priorities. “NCGA’s structure is unique and very different from other commodity associations,” says Litterer. “NCGA is affiliated with state corn grower associations to administer state checkoffs and emphasis is placed on grassroots input.” During their annual “Priority and Policy” meetings, NCGA offi- cers, grower leaders and Corn Board members review current policies, make applicable changes, and dis- cuss priorities and issues that will affect corn growers in the coming year. Each team and committee cre- ates three-year business plans. These plans have been instrumental in NCGA’s many accomplishments. “We have a very dynamic, grass- roots-driven organization that is structured to take advantage of bright young members with ideas and energy that will take us to even greater opportunities than we have today,” says McCauley. KEY ISSUES AND CURRENT ENDEAVORS ¦ ETHANOL: Ethanol has become a symbol of success for corn growers and rural America. NCGA has partici- pated in key initiatives promoting ethanol’s benefits, including spear- heading a study on ethanol develop- ment’s positive impact on rural com- munities; leading the charge in dispelling food and fuel myths; edu- cating audiences on ethanol’s envi- ronmental, economic and energy benefits; pushing for DDGs studies and development; reaching out to ag- ribusiness partners, academics, and economists; and most importantly, successfully seeking an increase in the production of starch-based ethanol in the renewable fuels standard. ¦ AGRI-INDUSTRY COUNCIL: In order to exchange information on issues affecting the corn industry and U.S. agriculture, NCGA formed the Agri- Industry Council (AIC) last year. The AIC facilitates a dialogue between agribusinesses and NCGA’s grower leadership to work collec- tively to ensure fair and equitable policies that foster continued growth and profitability; to develop, coordi- nate and implement activities on issues affecting the mutual interest of Council members and to provide a network between industry leaders and corn grower leadership. ¦ THE KEYSTONE CENTER: NCGA was part of the initial discussions that led to the formation of the Keystone Center Agriculture Sustainability Ini- tiative and is one of the founders. The group includes representatives from environmental organizations, academia, research organizations, grower interests, retail companies, and companies throughout the agri- cultural supply chain. The initiative’s primary objec- tives are to identify criteria for sus- tainable agriculture that are open to the full range of agricultural technol- ogy choices and to support the implementation of production sys- tems that lead to broad performance improvements against those criteria. ¦ CORN GENOME: NCGA took a lead- ing role in getting the National Plant Genome Initiative signed into law in 1997 and continues to support the effort today. In February 2008, a team of researchers led by Rick Wilson of Washington University in St. Louis completed a working draft of the corn genome sequence. The draft covers about 95% of the corn genome and offers the first comprehensive glance of the blueprint for the corn plant. The genome will be a key tool for researchers working to improve corn varieties and other cereal crops. Next steps include putting the draft sequence together into a conti- guous data set and working to better understand the functionality of all corn genes to enable new discoveries and extract the plant’s full potential. ¦ COMMODITY CLASSIC: In 2009, Commodity Classic, the combined annual tradeshow and convention of NCGA, the American Soybean Association and the National Asso- ciation of Wheat Growers , is bring- ing the National Sorghum Produc- ers under its tent for the 14th annual event in Grapevine, TX. Commodity Classic reached record-breaking num- bers this year in Nashville, TN, with 4,532 registrants and 145 working media in attendance and 847 trade show booths. ¦ IMPORTANT LEGISLATION: The energy bill, key waterway legisla- tion, free trade agreements and farm bill are examples of legislation Con- gress passed or paid close attention to last year. NCGA helped lead the charge for all of them — benefiting corn growers and all of agriculture. With foresight and planning, NCGA’s Corn Board called for pro- duction of 15 billion bushels of corn in its mid-2006 strategic plan, with five billion bushels to be used for production of 15 billion gallons of ethanol by 2015. This blueprint was instrumental in the historic energy legislation signed by President George W. Bush in December 2007. After almost two decades of work by corn growers, millions of dollars spent on studies, seven years of waiting on the legislative process, a presidential veto and a veto over- ride by the U.S. Congress, NCGA cel- ebrated the passage of the Water Resources Development Act in 2007, which calls for authorization of con- struction and improvements to the ailing lock and dam system on the upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Record corn production was met with record exports in 2007. Accord- ing to figures released by the USDA in April, the corn export forecast for 2007-2008 is projected at 2.5 billion bushels. With a newly enacted free trade agreement with Peru and sev- eral others in the pipeline and the start of duty-free U.S. corn imports to Mex- ico this past January, U.S. corn grow- ers have more export opportunities. Corn growers have pushed to include an optional Revenue Coun- tercyclical Payment to reform the farm safety net. NCGA has been deeply involved in farm bill discus- sions, pushing for a more market- oriented safety net that ensures assis- tance when needed most. AM 10 AgriMarketing ¦ May 2008 2008 NAMA AGRIBUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR /NCGA continued from page 8