(Posted Thu. Oct 2nd, 2014)
As the new fiscal year begins, the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board seated new members and officers Wednesday. Among the changes: former NCGA President Martin Barbre, of Illinois, became Corn Board chairman, passing the role of president to Chip Bowling, of Maryland.
The Off the Cob podcast series sat down with Barbre to discuss the Corn Board’s accomplishments in 2014, other highlights from his presidency, and to ask his advice for farmers considering volunteering for leadership roles.
To listen to the full interview, please click here.
Reflecting upon his time as president of the Corn Board, Barbre points out not only the accomplishments the organization achieved but also the incredible experience of working together with farmers across the country for common goals.
“It is kind of a challenge to sum up my experience over the past year,” he said. “It has been an exciting and wonderful experience. I have worked with so many great people both at NCGA, our members across the country and our state leaders. The Corn Board has supported me 100 percent for the full year. You couldn’t ask for a better place to be right now.”
After offering good-natured humor about his changing role on the board, Barbre outlined the situation facing farmers and provided insight into how to not only overcome challenges but to create opportunities from them.
“You know, people talk about how we are raising the biggest crop and prices have come down. It is both an opportunity and a challenge. Obviously, the challenge is finding markets and places for that corn to find a home so that we can get a better price for our producers. But, at the same time, it is a great opportunity to do that same thing – to find more markets.
“We need to open up more avenues for corn exports and to find more industrial uses for U.S. corn here in our own country.
“Obviously, we need to keep the RFS moving forward. We need to keep the EPA on track and following that statute. Ethanol’s future is not only with the RFS though. It is also with market infrastructure and public acceptance. There are many instances in which we have made great strides in these areas already, but we still have a lot of room to grow.
“Feed usage in the country has leveled off somewhat for many years. If the livestock producers can find more markets for their product, they will use more of our corn.”