As the saying goes: “There’s a first time for everything.” National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) members observed “a first,” as they met virtually for Corn Congress.
The Corn Congress meeting was held virtually for the “first time” in the organization’s history, shares John Linder, NCGA first vice president. The annual meeting, however, was still effective.
“COVID-19 has given us stress, but it’s opened up opportunities,” Linder said. “We’ve discovered we can be effective with virtual meetings. Surely, we miss face-to-face. There’s much energy to be had by seeing and visiting with someone at the meeting, or in the hallway. We look forward to being back to that.”
A key component of the annual meeting is Corn Board elections. Linder says, “We had some spots to fill and we got that accomplished.”
“Three of our board members ran as incumbents. Their first, three-year term was up,” Linder said. “We elected Chris Edgington, (of Iowa), to first vice president-elect. We had to replace Chris’ two-year term and former board member Don Glenn stepped down after a three-year term. And notwithstanding Lynn Chrisp going off the board, retiring as past president in the chairman role.”
NCGA members reelected Ken Hartman (IL), Brandon Hunnicutt (NE) and Gary Porter (MO), and welcomed Jed Bower (OH) and Brian Thalmann (MN).
In addition to Corn Board elections, members held policy discussions. Topics included: COVID-19, sustainability, conservation, and biofuels.
Coronavirus’ impact remains top-of-mind, as members discussed ways to support traditional markets and shore up demand.
“We have to figure out how to support traditional markets. We’ve been fortunate as corn farmers to find some relief. No one is being made whole by any funds that have come to us at this point, but they have been a great deal of help. We’re looking forward to engaging in conversations for further aid from Congress. But we also need to shore up markets. Demand is waning, and that’s affecting the markets and profitability.”
NCGA members also plan to speak with lawmakers about biofuels, ethanol, farmer health, and trade during their upcoming virtual Fly-In.