(Posted Wed. Sep 28th, 2011)

Dave NelsonSept. 28: As the fiscal year comes to an end, the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board gets ready to seat new members and officers on October 1. At this time, three current Corn Board members will retire from the board: Daryl Haack, Jerry Larson and Dave Nelson. The Off the Cob podcast series caught up with each retiring Corn Board member to discuss what each learned and experienced through service and to ask for any advice that might benefit farmers considering stepping up to a leadership role.


Off the Cob spoke with Dave Nelson, a farmer from Belmond, Iowa. During his tenure, Nelson served as the Corn Board liaison for the NCGA Research and Business Development Action Team, the Ethanol Committee and the Biotechnology Working Group, and as NCGA’s liaison to the National Pork Producers Council. At the board level, he also served as a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Farm, Ranch & Rural Communities Advisory Committee and on the Finance Committee. Additionally, Nelson sat on NCGA’s Grower Services Action Team and Ethanol Committees.


Nelson began by noting that, during his tenure, he saw many positive changes across the corn industry.


“During my years on the Corn Board, we saw some very good times for corn growers,” said Nelson. “We saw the market for corn expand and ethanol become a mainstay, both utilizing corn and marrying with the livestock industry in the use of distillers dried grains as a valuable feed source.”


Reflecting on his service, Nelson noted that the board was effective in legislative efforts.


“In the past several years we have seen a lot of valuable legislation passed,” said Nelson. “I feel proud to be a part of that.”


Finally, he offers advice to future leaders on maintaining perspective.


“I spent over a fourth of my life, when I added it up it was more than 15 years, with the Corn Growers,” said Nelson. “Service in this capacity can consume you and become a focal point of your life, particularly the Corn Board. While members may grow busy pushing for legislation and traveling in this work, I advise them to remain grounded by also keeping one toe back in your community.”


To listen to this interview in its entirety, please click here.