(Posted Wed. Feb 25th, 2015)

With Commodity Classic Grand Opening in Phoenix only one day away, the National Corn Growers Association invites attendees to dig a little deeper at three association-sponsored Learning Centers and one What’s New Session. Highlighting some of NCGA’s hottest programs and offering valuable advice for farmers, these opportunities offer a unique chance to get ahead of the curve and support the overall industry.


The first session, “Finding CommonGround,” kicks off Friday at 12:30 pm. CommonGround volunteers Sara Ross and Joan Ruskamp will show attendees how CommonGround, a grassroots movement of farm women who want to foster conversations between the women who grow and raise food and those who buy it. Using the power of their personal experiences, Ross and Ruskamp will explain how farm women across the country are sharing their experiences and helping consumers feel confident about American ag today. The session will also feature an interactive component that will allow all attendees to work in groups and put the CommonGround approach to consumer conversations in action.


At 1:45 that afternoon, “Helping Farmers Take Political Action” will explore how farmers can make their voices heard in the media, state capitol and in Washington to protect your way of life and defend your ability to produce food, feed, fiber and fuel for the world. The public respects the American farmer and trusts farmers over many of the opponents we face. However, agriculture can only use that tremendous advantage if farmers use their voices. Join nationally-renowned grassroots influence expert and author Amy Showalter to be motivated to become involved through a greater understanding on how powerful and important your voice as a farmer is with media and lawmakers.


At 3:00 pm, join The Soil Health Partnership for “Farmers of the Soil Health Partnership – A Panel to Discuss Soil Health Contributions to Productivity, Profitability and Sustainability.” Demonstration network farmers will discuss what they’ve learned, experienced and shared while hosting farmer-to-farmer field days within their communities, The session will begin with a  review of the current program goals and first year focus geography and benchmark data collected from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin. This panel boasts a diverse set of agronomic skills and experiences that will help grower attendees around the country improve their operations. They will share their thoughts on soil health, experiences with conservation cropping system practices and give advice to those interested in adopting cover crops, prescription nutrient management and other soil health practices.


Finally, at 3:30 pm, NCGA, National Association of Wheat Growers, American Soybean Association and American Farm Bureau Federation, present a What’s New Session titled “Learn About New Guidelines to Help Protect Your Farm’s Data.” Every farmer’s data is a valuable asset that can help increase productivity, but do they know who can assess it or how it is being used? Leaders from major farm organizations will explain the new Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data to outline what should be included in any data agreement a farmer signs.