(Posted Tue. Feb 28th, 2012)
Feb. 28: Commodity Classic isn’t just the largest grower-run convention and trade show, it’s a busy week for members of the National Corn Growers Association, who have a wide variety of association business to tend to, from Wednesday to Saturday afternoon, in addition to numerous learning sessions and other entertainment and networking opportunities.
“Commodity Classic is a great time for us to get together and mix business with pleasure,” said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer, who drove down to Nashville Monday from his farm in Auburn, Ill. “Every day is packed with meetings, and every walkway is packed with people you want to spend time with. It’s not often we can get so many leaders and other members together to learn from them and provide them with information about what their organization is doing. As a grassroots organization, this is vital.”
On Wednesday, an issues briefing and open forum updates growers on issues such as corn production, the farm bill and ethanol policy. It also provides an opportunity for members to share their views about policy recommendations. On that afternoon, state associations also hold caucuses for a more localized discussion of corn issues.
Thursday morning is the first of two Corn Congress sessions where delegates from the states vote on policy changes and additions, and when the trade show opens at 1 p.m., growers can gather at the NCGA booth inside the main entrance to meet with other growers, learn about NCGA programs, enter to win an Amazon Kindle Fire e-reader tablet, and send emails to their members of Congress.
For the state-level winners of the 2011 National Corn Yield Contest, Friday begins with an awards breakfast honoring their work and calling them out by name. In the Commodity Classic General Session that follows, Niemeyer will join the other commodity organization presidents to talk about what challenges and opportunities lie ahead for American agriculture. On Friday evening, the annual NCGA Awards Banquet will honor the national winners of the National Corn Yield Contest, as well as states and growers who led the way in recruiting new members. Those at the banquet will also enjoy the music of award-winning singer-songwriter Jamie O’Neal.
Delegates to Corn Congress reconvene Saturday afternoon to complete the policy consideration process, vote on priorities for the organization for 2013, approve updates to the NCGA Strategic Plan and hear reports from NCGA’s Action Teams and the organization’s chief executive officer.