Maryland Grains Producer Utilization Board (MGPUB) representatives accept their award: 

Jamie Jamison, Chip Bowling, Drew Stabler, Kevin Anderson


Over the decades, state associations representing corn farmers have developed innovative solutions to address a variety of challenges.  To recognize these achievements, the National Corn Growers Association has created the Reaching for Excellence Award. This award will be given to spotlight new approaches and encourage implementation of such advances in other states facing similar challenges.


NCGA’s Engaging Members Committee (EMC) reviewed application for the 2nd annual award during their January 2016 meeting St. Louis. The winner was announced at the 2017 Commodity Classic.


"For decades, state associations representing corn farmers have developed innovative solutions to address a variety of challenges," Engaging Members Committee Chairman Paul Taylor said. "The NCGA Reaching for Excellence Award was established to spotlight new approaches and encourage implementation of such advances in other states. The results to date are pretty sensational and have helped to engage farmers and cultivate the next generation of leaders in farming and agribusiness."   


While there is not a formal application, state grower associations and/or state checkoff boards interested in applying should supply a two to three-page narrative, on that state association’s letterhead, that includes the following elements:


Program Summary – a precise two to three-paragraph description of the program, the need it addressed and its outcome.


Program Description - What was the level of effort required and resources used? How many staff members, consultants or volunteers were involved? What were their roles? What was the estimated cost of implementation?  Did the program collaborate with other ag or community groups?


Program Evaluation - Describe the qualified or quantified performance outcomes for the program.  Why do you consider this program a success?  What advice or recommendations would you have for others considering your program?


Please submit the outlined two to three-page narrative documenting programmatic excellence by Friday, December 1, 2017. All submissions should be sent to Steve Uram.


A panel, comprised of members of the Engaging Members Committee, will select the winner.  All submissions will be posted on ShareFile to better facilitate the sharing of ideas and successes among NCGA’s state affiliate organizations.


The winning state and program will be recognized during the NCGA Awards Banquet at the 2018 Commodity Classic in Anaheim, California.


Complete List of Applications (PDF)


2015 Applications (PDF)

Reaching for Excellence Application 2016

The Board of Directors of the Indiana Corn Marketing Council invested $2 million in corn checkoff funds for the of development of the 25,000 square-foot automated Plant Phenotyping Facility at the Purdue University Agronomy Center for Research and Education (ACRE).  Completed in August, 2016, the world-class field phenotyping facility positions Purdue University with an innovative platform for STEM education and research for the next century of corn production research.  The Indiana Corn and Soybean Innovation Center brings together engineer, aviation scientists, computer scientists, and agronomists to apply their knowledge to the most pressing problems in plant sciences that affect the entire food production system and will enhance productivity and decision making in crop production for farmers.

Reaching for Excellence Application 2016

The Iowa Corn Mobile Education Center (ICMEC) was designed to create a highly visible, interactive tool for use by all Iowa Corn staff members – especially the District Field Managers – to engage farmers in general, checkoff contributors, ICGA members, consumers, policy-makers, students, partners, and other audiences and better tell the Iowa Corn story. This new asset allows us to raise the awareness of Iowa Corn conveniently and efficiently in a variety of audiences and highlight our organization’s programs.  The five main themes included in the trailer are: The grower, the fuel, the feed, the food, and the everything.  From the unit’s debut on July 8 at the Iowa Corn 300 through mid-October, over 23,000 people were exposed to Iowa Corn branding and experienced the trailer, which appeared at 35 different events and was on the road for 39 days.

Winner-Reaching for Excellence 2016

The Maryland Grains Producer Utilization Board (MGPUB) collaborated with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology, and University of Maryland Extension to host the Choptank Symposium. This symposium took a closer look at the Choptank River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, a part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, focusing on the current state of the river, practices employed by the agricultural community to mitigate impacts on water quality, and how these practices can be applied in other watersheds. The symposium brought 250 people from the agricultural, environmental and research communities coming together to explore a common concern. In the process, Maryland farmers who wanted to better understand the science on how their farming practices can impact the Bay also discovered they could build better relationships with the environmental community.

Reaching for Excellence Application 2016

The Helping Youth Prepare for Excellence (HYPE) Academy is a three-day conference that helps prepare incoming high school seniors to communicate, lead and advocate while gaining strategies and strengthening their knowledge on agriculture issues. The Missouri Corn Merchandising Council (MCMC) is the sole sponsor of the event administered by the Missouri FFA Association. The HYPE program was proposed by MCMC to bridge the gap among college and vocation-bound agricultural students. The annual conference equips the top 30 incoming high school senior FFA members to be advocates for agriculture by strengthening their knowledge of ag issues, sharpen their written and verbal communication skills and spark potential career interests.

Reaching for Excellence Application 2016


The Missouri Corn Board approved $80,000 for an all-hands-on deck, outreach effort to collect comments prior to EPA's October 5 deadline. All (12) MCGA staff were involved at some level, with the communications, field services and policy teams taking the lead. In what would have been a de-facto atrazine ban would have an allied industry, the MCGA partnered with MFA Inc. and local John Deere dealerships to expand the audience. A comprehensive grassroots campaign was launched that included: direct mail, post cards, petitions, and letters counter displays at retailers. A combination of social media, paid media and tele-town hall meetings were also used. Missouri's efforts yielded 6,345 comments to the EPA. 

Reaching for Excellence Application 2016


Summary: The OCW Insider Action Team was created to make Ohio a more-effective, advocacy partner within NCGA. The Insider Action Team is a group of concerned and passionate farmers who made a commitment to each other to stay informed about issues facing the growth and stability of Ohio’s farming industry. No matter how busy they are, this special sub-group of Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association membership quickly responds through calls, emails and letters regarding legislative issues that affect our industry, such as RFS, crop insurance, GMO labeling and water quality. In the application to follow, you will discover some of the innovative ideas we executed to activate members and re-energize our grassroots.