This article and podcast are part of a series profiling candidates for the 2018 Corn Board.
As the past president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association and chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Kenneth Hartman’s passion for agriculture keeps him returning to grower leadership service. . A team player, Hartman hopes to put his dedication to grassroots activism and desire for collaboration to use for farmers across the country as a member of the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board.
Hartman finds inspiration to run for the Corn Board not only in his passion for farming but also in his belief in building a better future through “around-the-curve” thought.
“I have always seen NCGA as a well-respected organization that is also grassroots-oriented,” he said. “When you look at the innovative thinking from our past leaders to grow demand for corn, in areas such as ethanol, they have made a real difference for the industry. Working in Washington or outside, we face many challenges over the coming years. I would like to work with other national leaders on these challenges.”
Hartman began his leadership path with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board while also serving in different roles at NCGA and the U.S. Grains Council. After going off the state board for a few years, his passion for the organization drew him back to service as president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association and in NCGA action team leadership.
Through this experience, he developed a perspective on the qualities and traits necessary for leadership.
“A Corn Board member should be held to the highest standard. They should be open minded to all members’ input and serve without a personal agenda,” he explained. “Corn Board members should be true team players who work with other leaders. They should be dedicated and willing to share their talents and experiences for the benefit of the association and its members. Working together, we can make innovative ideas a reality and accomplish so much for all NCGA’s members.”
Hartman is a fifth-generation farmer, who operates a grain farm in Waterloo, Illinois, along with his wife, Anita, and mother, Joann. Together, they have also raised specialty crops such as tofu soybeans and white corn. From the very beginning, they adopted precision farming technologies. His three daughters, Amanda, Alexis and Ashley, also help on the farm, as time allows, given their schedules with high school and college.
To listen to the full interview with Hartman, click here.
The NCGA Corn Board election takes place at the July 19 Corn Congress session in Washington.
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.
The Corn Utilization and Technology Conference (CUTC) is a biennial event happening this June. Learn more.