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 2018 Executive Committee steps down, NCGA President Kevin Skunes will move into the role of chairman, passing the role of president to current NCGA First Vice President Lynn Chrisp.
The Off the Cob podcast series caught up with Skunes, 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.
Reflecting upon his time as president, Skunes explained that he found the work rewarding and sees three main areas in which NCGA has focused on accomplishing important things for farmers.
“Some of the things that we have been working on are very important to the corn industry. We have our ethanol markets, trade issues and a farm bill.
“First and foremost, we have been working on our ethanol industry. There were several people in the Administration thinking that farmers didn’t really care about the Renewable Identification Numbers [RINs which is the tracking mechanism that ensures compliance by U.S. refinery companies with the Renewable Volume Obligations for ethanol under the 2007 Renewable Fuel Standard statute.] They didn’t care about the ethanol industry as a whole.
“I think that as a whole, myself as an officer and NCGA were able to relate to Secretary of Agriculture Perdue that ethanol and the RFS as it moves forward really do matter to farmers across the nation… That was one of my main accomplishments in the current year.”
To listen to his reflections on his time thus far in leadership, including more on ethanol and discussions of trade issues and the farm bill, click here.
Looking forward, given his experience, Skunes explains what he sees on the horizon for farmers during his time as chairman.
“After three years in the officer rotation at NCGA, I have had a chance to talk to a lot of people. I am very much looking forward to helping Lynn Chrisp in his year as president with the knowledge that I have gained.
“Going forward, I see that people need to be involved. They need to call their Congressmen and call their Senators. They need to talk to their state representatives. It is very important that we let it be known that agriculture is very important to the U.S. economy.
“I truly believe that you cannot depend on someone else to advocate for what you believe in because one person can make a difference if you let your voice be heard.”
For a clip of the thoughts Skunes shared on the future for corn farmers, click here.
To listen to the full interview, please click here.
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.