(Posted Fri. Aug 22nd, 2014)

National Corn Growers Association officers and senior staff gathered this week in Idaho for the biannual NCGA Agri-Industry Council meeting. Here, representatives of 12 leading agribusinesses discussed vital issues facing agriculture, shared information on their companies and sectors, heard from recognized speakers and learned about NCGA’s current initiatives. Established in 2007, the Agri-Industry Council facilitates dialogue between agribusinesses and NCGA to collectively address issues of mutual concern.


“NCGA’s AIC plays an important role in bringing key leaders from across the value chain together. Through open dialogue, we can all move forward with a better understanding of the big picture and coordinate to build a brighter future,” said NCGA Chairwoman Pam Johnson, who co-chairs the AIC.


Over the course of the meeting, attendees heard from government relations professionals, including NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Jon Doggett, on how the the current legislative environment and the methods congressional staff prefer to be contacted. NCGA officers and staff also provided updates on the association’s major projects and the 2014 corn crop outlook.


Featured speakers from outside of the agricultural community provided input and insight into some of the issues facing farmers today. Michael Moran, vice president for Global Risk Analysis at Control Risks Group, provided a look at the future of American power, focusing on opportunities for new development and alliances within a changing global economy. A foreign policy journalist, writer and geo-strategist for investment banks and other institutions, he is author of The Reckoning: Debt, Democracy and the Future of American Power and co-author of the 2012 book The Fastest Billion: The Story behind Africa's Economic Revolution. Moran expressed great optimism for the future of American, and more specifically to agriculture, for grain-fed meat exports to Asia.


Lawrence Kent, senior program officer with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, also spoke with the group on the role biotechnology plays in the foundation’s portfolio. Focusing on the important role the Gates Foundation sees technology playing in raising small farmer productivity in Africa and southern Asia, Kent’s presentation reiterated the Gates’ Foundation’s firm support for biotechnology in agriculture and reinforced the importance of continued development to help raise the quality of life for the impoverished.


NCGA’s AIC will meet next in March of 2015 in Washington.