(Posted Tue. Aug 20th, 2013)
By Pam Johnson
President, National Corn Growers Association
As NCGA president, I was very proud when we announced last week that NCGA had reached a record membership of more than 40,000 active members. This milestone is the result of a lot of hard work, and the work of many hands – our recruiters who reach out across their fields to their neighbors and friends, our state and national staff who implement so many important programs, and our grower-leaders who have led NCGA and its state affiliates.
There could not be a better time, or a more important time, to have these new members. For if there is anything we have learned, it’s that farmer voices are respected and followed. And now is the time for us to raise our voices, as we face two significant challenges in the weeks ahead.
First, there is the farm bill; or, rather, the lack of a farm bill. The currently extended 2008 farm bill expires on September 30 and Congress is significantly split on a future direction. With members of Congress back home this month and returning to the Capitol after Labor Day, we need to remind them again and again why a farm bill is important.
Many of us have representatives and senators who are on our side very vocal on the issue, and we need to thank them and challenge them to work with their friends in Congress to get more Yea votes on the farm bill.
Second, we have the Renewable Fuel Standard, under assault by Big Oil and others. Corn growers were instrumental in the creation of the modern ethanol industry, and America needs a fuel that is domestic, renewable, and an important contributor to our rural economy. Regardless, ethanol and the RFS are now under attack in the mainstream news media and on Capitol Hill.
Now is the time for action. I urge all our 40,000 corn growers and those who support them to get involved, whether by reaching out to their lawmakers, getting active in social media like Facebook or Twitter, or volunteering time and talent for their state corn grower associations. Opportunities for engagement are numerous, and we cannot win the battles ahead without our grassroots – you and your neighbors getting more involved.
Thank you for your membership and for your action in the weeks to come.