(Posted Wed. Sep 26th, 2012)

Keith Alverson jpgSept. 26: As fiscal year 2012 comes to a close, Off the Cob takes time to look ahead with the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board members elected or reelected to their position during Corn Congress this July. Examining their views on membership, leadership and insight  into the issues which will affect corn farmers over the year to come, these interviews provide a glimpse into the leadership which will guide NCGA during 2013.


For Keith Alverson, a farmer from Chester, S.D., reelected to the board in July, the challenges facing American agriculture are multiple and, in the most prominent cases, issues which we have been dealing with for a significant amount of time.


“Obviously, as the farm bill has stalled out in the House at the moment, we must make sure to get something accomplished by passing a farm bill in 2013,” Alverson explained. “Getting that done in the fall of 2012 or early in 2013 is critical for our success as farmers. Also, challenges to the Renewable Fuel Standard and ethanol are on the horizon. Given the drought that many of us have experienced across the Midwestern corn growing states, there has been a supply issue that has caused pressure to be placed on the RFS. This issue will be front and center in our work for corn growers.”


Speaking to Off the Cob from his combine, Alverson recognizes that serving his fellow farmers does not always fit easily into a schedule already packed with on-farm obligations. The difficulties withstanding, he acknowledges that grassroots farmer-leadership plays a key role in NCGA’s success and, moreover, that it is imperative growers take a personal responsibility for securing the future of their industry.


“Many of us farmers have a tendency to think that someone is going to stand up and fight for something like the farm bill or the RFS,” he explained. “You look around the room, and you think that someone else is going to stand up, but you have to look in the mirror when you ask that question. It may not always be convenient to get off of the combine and head to a meeting or to your Congressional office, but, when you realize the importance of the issues that we face, you realize that it has to be done.”


For the full interview, click here.


In the following days, Off the Cob will offer more interviews and insight from NCGA grower-leaders as they prepare for 2013.