(Posted Thu. May 1st, 2014)
This week, staff from the National Corn Growers Association and state corn associations across the country met in St. Louis to share insights gained over the past year and coordinate efforts for the next. With a record of nearly 150 attendees including state association executives, program directors and communicators, the conference also provided a forum to discuss pressing issues facing farmers including implementation of the farm bill passed earlier this year, communications on GMO issues and ethanol promotion.
“By working together seamlessly and effectively, our state and national organizations magnify our effectiveness and, subsequently, our ability to create positive change for farmers,” said NCGA CEO Rick Tolman. “While each state organization faces unique opportunities and challenges resulting from their particular circumstances, America’s farmers share many common issues. Working collaboratively allows us to address these areas of commonality with the full force of our combined strengths while sharing insight and ideas that can be brought back to address unique issues in an innovative fashion.”
The week began as state association staff joined with national staff from both the St. Louis and Washington offices to begin an in-depth look at some of the exciting activities and programs that have achieved success since they last met in April 2013. Each state took a chance to share some of their accomplishments, knowledge gained from the process of implementing tactics and to provide a glimpse of projects on the horizon. In turn, national staff deeply involved in various legislative and regulatory issues and those heading a broad array of communications and market support programs presented brief overviews of recent successes and forecasts of what is to come.
In addition to sharing experiences and ideas, attendees participated in training seminars that focused on a wide variety of state-requested areas of interest including the increasing use of farm-centric applications designed for handheld technologies, in-depth analysis of trade and biotech issues, ethanol marketing strategies and fresh ideas for communicating complex issues. Using the chance to fine-tune skills, update knowledge of rapidly evolving issues and tools and further discuss broader situations with important implications, state and national staff alike worked diligently to improve skill sets and hold constructive conversations that will aide them in forming and implementing programs.
Following the meeting with state staff, NCGA staff met to discuss ongoing projects and opportunities to increase communication among departments and offices.