National Corn Growers Association board member and Iowa corn grower Bob Hemesath was recently elected to serve as president of the international agricultural advocacy group Farmers for Free Trade.
“I am honored to assume this leadership role at an organization that has been so effective in advocating on behalf of farmers and their trade priorities,” Hemesath said. “I look forward to leading the organization in a direction that will allow us to build on our successes and further advance the trade goals of America’s farmers.”
The U.S. exported 1.8 billion bushels of corn in 2023 valued at $13.1 billion, according to the latest data by the U.S. Census Bureau. Additionally, exports of ethanol and its co-products were exported that year at a value of $7.1 billion.
Corn is also exported in the form of animal protein when corn-fed, U.S.-raised beef, pork and poultry is shipped overseas. Shipments of these products resulted in $23.6 billion in export value in 2023.
With export opportunities being a crucial market for U.S. corn farmers, NCGA and its partners regularly advocate for free trade and market-building opportunities around the globe.
NCGA President Harold Wolle believes Hemesath will provide strong leadership for Farmers for Free Trade.
“Bob is an incredible farmer and advocate, and he will no doubt provide exemplary leadership in this new role,” said Wolle. “Bob knows well the trade issues crucial to corn growers and will be in position to elevate our voices, which makes his appointment particularly important and meaningful to NCGA.”
Farmers for Free Trade mobilizes farmers and the public to advocate for free trade initiatives. It is considered the preeminent advocacy group on the topic.
Hemesath has served on the NCGA board for the last three years and has played a crucial role in the organization’s advocacy efforts in Washington. He raises corn and soybeans and runs a head hog wean-to-finish and feeder-to-finish hog operation in Decorah, Iowa.