(Posted Fri. Jul 12th, 2013)
July 12: Next week, delegates attending the National Corn Growers Association Corn Congress in Washington will elect five farmers to serve on the organization’s Corn Board. Taking office on Oct. 1, the start of NCGA’s 2014 fiscal year, the leaders selected will help shape the policies that guide the organization and will best serve corn farmers across the United States.
Corn Board Candidates for 2014 are Ronnie Burleson, Richfield, N.C.; Rob Elliott, Cameron, Ill.; Jon Holzfaster, Paxton, Neb.; David Howell, Middletown, Ind.; Kevin Ross, Minden, Iowa; Gary Schmalshof, Adair, Ill.; Wesley Spurlock, Stratford, Texas; and Paul Taylor, Esmond, Ill. The four new members receiving the most votes will serve three-year terms, while the candidate elected to the board receiving the fewest votes will serve a one-year term beginning the same day.
“NCGA has historically been blessed with a large pool of quality, skilled candidates willing to serve their fellow farmers by stepping into an active leadership role, and this year proves no exception,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson. “The candidates’ willingness to dedicate this amount of time and energy serves as a testament to NCGA and the effectiveness of our efforts on behalf of corn farmers.”
Burleson currently serves as president of both the Corn Growers Association of North Carolina and of the North Carolina Cotton Producers Association. He also serves as a director on the boards of the North Carolina Farm Bureau, National Cotton Council and Southern Cotton Growers. Together with his son, brother and nephew, he farms 4,000 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton, raises beef cattle and operates a family-owned cotton gin.
Running for a second term on the Corn Board, Elliott currently co-chairs the Commodity Classic Committee for 2014 and is vice chair of the NASCAR Advisory Committee in addition to serving on the board. Previously, he served as the organizational representative to the Waterways Council. In his home state, Elliott has served as president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association. With two brothers, his 88-year-old father and a nephew, he farms corn and soybeans while running a growing seed business in Warren County, Ill.
A current Corn Board member, Holzfaster is also running for reelection. Holzfaster owns and operates the same farm in southwest Nebraska that his family has for three generations. On their farm, they produce corn, popcorn, soybeans, dry edible beans, wheat and alfalfa. Together, his family also operates a 1,000-head non-commercial feed yard that utilizes feed produced on the farm. He currently chairs the NASCAR Advisory Committee and has previously chaired NCGA’s Ethanol Committee and the Nebraska Corn Board.
Howell currently serves on NCGA's Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team. He also serves on the board of directors of the U.S. Grains Council, Indiana Corn Growers Association and Indiana Corn Marketing Council. He operates a first-generation family farm, which he founded with his wife in Middleton, Indiana. Along with their two sons, they grow corn and soybeans as well as processing tomatoes and pumpkins marketed to major retailers nationwide. Additionally, the family also has agricultural interests in Brazil that produce corn and soybeans.
Ross, a sixth-generation family farmer in southwestern Iowa, currently serves as a director of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and on NCGA’s Public Policy Action Team. Along with his wife, Sara, he grows corn, soybeans, alfalfa and runs a cow/calf operation. In addition to his past presidency of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Ross previously served as chair of the Iowa AgState Initiative and on NCGA’s Ethanol Committee.
Schmalshof, a previous member of NCGA’s Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team, has served his home state for more than a decade as a member of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, which he chaired for a term. Additionally, he has worked extensively promoting U.S. agriculture abroad through his activities on the executive committee of the U.S. Grains Council. A farmer from Adair, Ill., Schmalshof farms while running trucking, seed and crop insurance businesses with his two sons and wife, former NCGA Corn Board member Theresa.
Current Corn Board member Spurlock is running for reelection this year also. Spurlock chairs NCGA’s Finance Committee and sits on the board of both the Texas Corn Producers Board and Corn Producers Association of Texas in addition to farming and managing 9,600 acres of irrigated corn, cotton, wheat and grain sorghum in the upper Texas panhandle.
Having already served as president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association and the Wisconsin Soybean Growers Association, Taylor now acts as vice chair on NCGA’s Ethanol Committee. On land that has been in his family for more than 100 years, he raises corn, seed corn, food grade non-GMO soybeans and canning vegetables for Del Monte including sweet corn, lima beans and green peas. While he no longer raises livestock personally, he continues to value that component of our agricultural system.
The NCGA Corn Board represents the organization on all matters while directing both policy and supervising day-to-day operations. Board members represent the federation of state organizations, supervise the affairs and activities of NCGA in partnership with the chief executive officer and implement NCGA policy established by the Corn Congress. Members also act as spokesmen for the NCGA and enhance the organization’s public standing on all organizational and policy issues.
For more information on all of the candidates, click here.