(Posted Fri. Sep 30th, 2016)
As the fiscal year comes to a close, the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board will seat new members and officers this Saturday. Among the changes: former NCGA President Chip Bowling, of Maryland, becomes Corn Board chairman, passing the role of president to Wesley Spurlock, of Texas.
The Off the Cob podcast series sat down with Bowling to discuss the priorities he sees as essential to success in the upcoming fiscal year, the Corn Board’s accomplishments over the past years and to ask his advice for farmers considering volunteering for leadership roles.
To listen to the full interview, please click here.
Looking out at the year to come, Bowling discussed the three priorities he sees as critical to creating and growing opportunities for corn farmers.
“We will need to make sure that we do not have more regulations put on farmers that will add to what are already high input costs in a time of low prices,” he said.
“The second priority, for me, would be keeping the Renewable Fuel Standard in tact. We need to make sure that we get the Renewable Volume Obligation back to where it needs to be. This will keep the ethanol industry strong which, in turn, will keep the corn market strong.
“The third leg of the stool is increasing demand. Right now, we have a huge crop of corn coming in, and we have a supply of corn left from last year. So, we need to create demand whether it is in trade, with our livestock partners or in the ethanol industry.”
Reflecting on the accomplishments that he has seen during his term of service thus far, Bowling stressed the importance of communications and collaboration.
“Getting the last farm bill signed and working with conservation groups to get that good, commonsense farm bill was a major accomplishment.
“The work that we have done with EPA, though we do not get the answers that we would want from them sometimes, has kept the door open to us. The only way to get to a compromise is to have this type of communication. So, I think that we have set that up well, whether it is talking about the Waters of the U.S. or the Renewable Fuel Standard, when it comes to the RVO numbers.
“Quite frankly, I think we have also done a great job of opening communications with the states that make up the national association. With our new strategic plan, we have a sense of direction and know where we want to go as a group. It takes all of our members and all of our states to get there.”