The National Corn Growers Association entered a new fiscal year on Sunday and seated the 2018 Corn Board with Wesley Spurlock of Stratford, Texas, who moved into the role of chairman. Off the Cob spoke with the chairman to explore his views on NCGA’s work over the previous years, what lies ahead for corn farmers in 2018 and his thoughts on the importance of grassroots advocacy.
“What we have done as NCGA, with me being just a small part of that, is gone through our strategic plan, and demand has become a very important part of it,” he said. “As an organization, with our state affiliates and our leadership, we have tried to assess how important the different sides of demand are.
“Ethanol has been our top priority for a number of years, and we have worked very hard on it. But, while we were focused on ethanol, we let some other markets fall to the side. Now, we have returned to strongly pushing all demand work by working closely with the livestock industry at all levels, and we are doing a great job of working with the U.S Grains Council to increase exports of grain, DDGS and ethanol.
“We are working hard on all fronts to ensure that the demand is there so, as we continue to produce more and more corn, we have a market for it and can get prices back up into a strong, profitable area.”
To listen to the full interview, please click here.
Looking forward, Spurlock sees many opportunities to work with the new administration to improve life for our nation’s farmers.
“In the administration, we are getting the next set of leaders in place. We have been able to work closely with those who are already there,” said Spurlock. “We have great individuals serving as the Secretary of Commerce, the Administrator of the EPA and the Secretary of Agriculture. They are looking at how to help producers and work with modern agriculture, finding ways to help the environment and keep agriculture profitable. We have had a great deal of success already and, as more of their teams come into place, we will be able to work even more to improve the regulatory environment for farmers.”
Spurlock stressed the incredibly important role members play in ensuring success.
“Grassroots really do matter. Farmers’ stories are what your representatives in DC want to hear. Our consumers want to hear about how farmers work sustainably as well. We need members from across the country to speak up because their voices are both very important and a source of great strength.”
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.