(Posted Thu. Jun 26th, 2014)
This article and podcast are the fourth in a series profiling candidates for the 2015 Corn Board.
Jim Reed places a high value on the important role grassroots’ input plays in shaping every part of the National Corn Growers Association. With a keen awareness of the importance of valuing corn farmer input, he hopes to serve his peers as a member of the NCGA Corn Board.
Reed believes that a Corn Board member should strive to facilitate communications between NCGA, the grassroots membership and the key decision makers who have an impact on agriculture. To do this effectively, he would stay up-to-date on the wide array of issues confronting agriculture, investing the time necessary to investigate the issues fully before making policy decisions. As a member of the board, he would strive to provide fair and balanced leadership that values every member’s input.
“A Corn Board member has to look after the finances of the organization and, obviously, be frugal with the budget,” he said. “This is always a concern as our budget seems to fluctuate due to how our checkoff works.
“I think that a board member also must be aware and make action plans that match the association’s priorities as defined by the delegates. These are the organization’s marching orders. Then, the board needs to work with staff to create action plans, implement them and move our organization forward on all of the issues and challenges.”
Reed sees NCGA as representing corn farmers well in every aspect of the industry despite the huge task of playing an active role in policy, research, conservation, ethanol and public image. He believes that the ability to be effective in such a diversity of arenas stems from its ability to draw ideas from the grassroots and put them into action. As a board member, he would maintain a balanced budget, work to secure a financial safety net for farmers through the farm bill, develop the information needed to address challenges to the industry and seek out ways for farmers to prepare for an uncertain future.
“I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of members and delegates within NCGA over many years,” Reed explained. “I have been very active in debating the issues on the delegate floor during Corn Congress. But, I have also had a lot of hallway discussions with people. I think that I am approachable enough that, if someone has an issue or a problem, they can come and talk to me. If they bring an issue to me, they can know that I will speak for them in a forum if they aren’t comfortable doing so. I will help them move that issue forward.”
Reed, along with his family, farms 1,200 acres of corn and soybeans in addition to performing custom farming operations for his relatives. The proud owner of a Centennial farm, his is the fifth generation of his family to farm in his community.
Currently, Reed chairs the NCGA Public Policy Action Team. He previously chaired NCGA’s CornPAC and was a member of its Grassroots Committee and Grower Services Action Team. At the state level, he is a past president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association and former chair of the ICGA Industrial Committee.
To listen to the full interview with Reed, click here.
The NCGA Corn Board election takes place during Corn Congress on July 16 in Washington.