Members of the National Corn Growers Association’s Consumer Engagement Action Team met in Savannah, Georgia last week to review programs focused on the organization’s strategic goals associated with strengthening consumer trust. The team, which was formed in October of 2016 to better align and focus with the goals of the new strategic plan, delved deeply into ongoing consumer engagement efforts while exploring future opportunities.
At the meeting, the team took a thoughtful look at pertinent sections of NCGA’s Policy Book, examining the relevance of current language to the association’s public policy work. They also took a deep dive into the ongoing activities of and budget for consumer engagement programs, such as the Corn Reputation project, CommonGround and the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.
“With our new strategic focus, the importance of proactively engaging with consumers to foster understanding and mutual trust has come to the forefront as a key to ensuring future demand,” said Patty Mann, who serves as chairwoman of the team. “Our farm families have so many challenges right now, whether its farm economics or regulatory intrusion, so we want to do all we can to help them by engaging as trusted advocates for agriculture with the ability to build a brighter future.”
The team also spoke with several outside groups, such as Farm Journal Foundation and Bason Research, to explore the broad spectrum of ongoing activities and research relevant to consumer communications about agriculture. Through these presentation, members had the opportunity to view a wide range of activities, including those focused on efforts to explore ag on coastal college campuses.
During the team’s visit, the Georgia Corn Growers Association graciously hosted them to a low country boil at the Georgia Coastal Botanical Gardens. Additionally, GCGA Executive Director Dr. Dewey Lee arranged for a series of tours for the group to help them explore consumer outreach activities in that state focused on highlighting the safety around oyster farming and expanding knowledge of local marine ecology.
In addition to Mann, the Grower Services Action Team includes Vice Chairman Ted Mottaz, Corn Board Liaison Tom Haag, and members, Debbie Borg, Dan Cole, Ralph Kauffman, David Merrell, Gerald Mulder, Leah Pottinger, Allen Rowland and state affiliate staff representative Shannon Textor of Iowa. The next meeting will take place in Washington in July.
NCGA is taking a series of actions to do our part to help contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the economic fallout it is creating for corn farmers and our customers. Short term, this means instituting policies to protect the health and safety of our stakeholders and the broader communities we serve. Long term, we’re focused on creating solutions to help corn farmers and our customers recover from the financial impacts of this crisis.
CommonGround is a group of farmers connecting with consumers through conversations about science and research and personal stories about food and misinformation surrounding farming. Supported by the NCGA and state corn organizations.
The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is a farmer-led initiative that fosters transformation in agriculture through improved soil health. Administered by NCGA the partnership has more than 220 working farms enrolled in 16 states. SHP’s mission is to utilize science and data to partner with farmers who are adopting conservation agricultural practices that improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the farm.