In a few short days, my year as President of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) will come to an end. Those 365 days sure went by quickly.
As I look forward to transitioning the leadership of this organization to another great Minnesotan, Harold Wolle, I find myself reflecting on what we’ve accomplished as an organization in the last year.
There have been many fun and special moments along the way: I’ve met with Secretary Vilsack a number of times, had many conversations with Senators and Representatives, testified in Congressional hearings, and discussed important issues facing our industry with any number of individuals who care about the future of corn and agriculture. It’s been an incredibly special experience, and I’m humbled to have had the opportunity.
But, I am most proud of how NCGA and our state partners made a difference when our trading relationship with our biggest export market was threatened. After Mexico issued a decree banning future imports of biotech corn, it was NCGA who stepped up to the plate to advocate for the nation’s corn growers and the technology they have used for decades. It was only after we began sounding alarm bells that we got the attention of U.S. government officials, who eventually brought a case forward under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement for Mexico’s violation of the biotechnology terms it agreed to in the trade pact. While we won’t know the outcome of this case for some months to come, I know that NCGA’s effort helped get us to this point and that is something to celebrate.
I have always believed in the mission of groups like NCGA – we must be our own best advocates if we want our industry to be successful. And what happened in the last year only reinforced and reinvigorated my confidence that we can and do make a difference when our collective voices are raised.
It’s been an honor to serve our nation’s 300,000 corn farmers.