As the fiscal year comes to an end, the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board prepares to seat new members and officers on October 1. When the 2017 Executive Committee steps down, NCGA Chairman Chip Bowling will complete his term, passing the role of chairman to current NCGA President Wesley Spurlock.
The Off the Cob podcast series caught up with Bowling, who paused from his work harvesting to share his thoughts. During the conversation, he discussed his perspective on his years in leadership, provided his insight into the future and explored how members can work together to make NCGA an even more effective advocate for farmers.
To listen to the full interview, please click here.
Reflecting upon his time on the Corn Board, Bowling explained that he is proud of maintaining the tradition of organizational excellence and credits the many leaders at both the state and national level for this achievement.
“I am proud both of the lobbying that we do in Washington, D.C. and of the work done in St. Louis to lead our action teams and the many other programs that make NCGA viable.” said Bowling. “I am proud that we kept the Renewable Fuels Standard mostly intact. We are now seeing, with the new administration, renewed hope that we can make the RFS even stronger.
“I am proud that we have impressed upon the new administration the importance of trade. We are making our voice heard regarding how important corn is globally, not just to our own country.
“I am proud of how we have handled ourselves in relation to the farm bills which I have been involved in promoting. We have worked to ensure that the taxpayers get the most for their money in this legislation and, I think for the most part, growers are happy with how we have done it.”
Looking toward the future, he sees many opportunities on the horizon and the concrete steps farmers must take to make this brighter future a reality.
“We are always looking for new uses for corn,” he said. That next best thing is out there. Our teams, our staff and our growers are working hard to find that next best thing for corn.
“I see us needing to have a larger presence in D.C., particularly in terms of having growers come to D.C. to tell their own story and to stress the national and international importance of corn.
“I also see us having to communicate with consumers better. They are the ones who end up buying our product. When we do reach the general public with our message, they will see how we farm and why we farm the way that we do. This will foster acceptance of genetically modified products and the tillage practices that we use now.”
Providing some final thoughts on his time in Corn Board leadership, Bowling expressed appreciation for both the good and bad days as well as his fellow growers and staff, at both the state and national level, who walked with him.
“I certainly have appreciated the last four years of being an officer of the National Corn Growers Association. I have enjoyed every minute of it,” Bowling concluded. “There have been good days. There have been great days, and there also have been some bad days. We do a lot of lobbying, and we have a lot of major concerns in agriculture. From the farm bill to ethanol to trade, we have to make some tough decisions, and we have to understand that the decisions we make at NCGA affect a lot of other people -- our grower members.
“I want them to know how hard the Corn Board and their state executives and state staff work for us. I want our members to know how important our staff is in St. Louis and D.C. I want them to know how hard our staff works to help us as growers. I want our growers to understand how much I have appreciated all they have done for me and how much they should appreciate their own work as well,” said Bowling.
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.