(Posted Wed. Jan 4th, 2012)

Jan. 4: The National Corn Growers Association’s Grower Services Action Team focuses on three areas for the organization: membership, leadership and communications. In each of these areas, 2012 will prove to be an important year for the group of 14 growers who, along with state and national staff assistance, keep a sharp eye on program efforts in these three areas.


“With membership setting records and a deeper level of state checkoff investment in core image programs, the Grower Services Action Team has its work cut out for it this year,” said Nebraska corn farmer Brandon Hunnicutt, who chairs the team. “We challenge ourselves at each meeting to ensure our national organization is more relevant to our individual grower members and to provide them the tools they need to excel in leadership and communications with a robust slate of services.”


Whether it’s something as simple as a discount on cars or computers or as complicated as an advanced leadership training program, the Grower Services Action Team keeps the spotlight on a wide variety of ways NCGA members can benefit their farming operations or become better industry leaders. At its December 2011 meeting, the team approved some new member benefits that will roll out later this year to help members save money on certain purchases.


Thanks to support from Syngenta, the Grower Services Action Team manages a membership program that helps states recruit members and a two-tier leadership program, basic and advanced, that graduates new leaders each year to serve their state and national organizations.


“Through the years, Syngenta has really helped us a lot in building a bigger, stronger membership base,” Hunnicutt said. “Once one becomes a member, usually recruited individually by fellow farmers, the next logical step is our outstanding leadership training program that has graduated about 500 grower leaders so far.”


Finally, in the area of communications, the Grower Services Action Team provides advice and input on NCGA’s involvement in such key programs as CommonGround, with the United Soybean Board, the Corn Farmers Coalition and the much broader U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, which NCGA helped create.


“NCGA has become a respected leader when it comes to building coalitions and alliances to move all of American agriculture forward,” Hunnicutt noted. “It’s a privilege to see, first-hand, how this all takes place and to work with a terrific team of growers and staff on programs that truly make a positive difference for our industry.”


In addition to Hunnicutt, team members include Vice Chair Bill Berg of Ohio, Corn Board Liaison Bill Chase of South Dakota, Roscoe Eggers of Iowa, Lori Feltis of Minnesota, David Ford of Texas, Tom Haag of Minnesota, Kent Kleinschmidt of Illinois, Mark Klumb of South Dakota, Jim Rapp of Illinois, Herb Ringel of Indiana, Mark Scott of Missouri, Randy Woodruff of Wisconsin, and Cindy McDonald of the North Dakota Corn Growers Association.


This story is the first in a series looking at the challenges and opportunities to be faced by NCGA’s action teams and committees in the months ahead.