(Posted Tue. Jun 26th, 2012)
Third in a series profiling candidates for the 2013 Corn Board.
June 26: A careful listener who places the greater good of corn farmers across the country first, Gary Schmalshof is running for the NCGA Corn Board after serving on his state’s checkoff board for more than a decade and traveling extensively on behalf of his fellow farmers for the U.S. Grains Council. He brings this experience, an international perspective and his dedication to service to the position.
“I have always thought of myself as a participant,” Schmalshof explained. “Sometimes, you hear a lot of people complaining about how they don’t like this and they don’t like that. Instead, I roll up my sleeves and jump in to try and change things, not only for the betterment of myself but also for my fellow growers.”
Speaking on his goals for NCGA as an organization, Schmalshof’s even-keel, dedicated approach becomes apparent. Simultaneously, the innate optimism and faith in his fellow farmer motivate his service and add an upbeat tone.
“I would like to make sure that corn is represented fairly and evenly,” he said. “We need to stay engaged, working to change what may appear negative sometimes into an opportunity.”
Schmalshof envisions a Corn Board that returns to its original mission of promoting corn and corn-based products while understanding the importance of defending against ongoing attacks on the industry.
“Right now, I think it is crucial that the Corn Board works to stop the assault on corn,” Schmalshof said. “It seems every day, whether you pick up the paper or turn on the news, you hear attacks on corn from all sides. The public wants to tell farmers how they can and cannot farm. Commodity boards were first created to promote products, come up with new ideas for the industry and set policy. Now, it seems that instead of taking this forward-facing approach, we are stuck playing defense. From the RFS to government regulations, we need to stop the attacks and get back to promoting our products.”
Gary Schmalshof farms 5,100 acres with his wife, Theresa, and their two sons, with whom he also runs a trucking and seed business as well as a crop insurance agency. Himself a seasoned leader, Schmalshof grew to understand the responsibilities of a Corn Board member when his wife served in that capacity for six years.
The NCGA Corn Board election takes place at the July 18 Corn Congress session in Washington.
To listen to the audio interview, click here.