(Posted Wed. Jun 25th, 2014)
This article and podcast are the third in a series profiling candidates for the 2015 Corn Board.
David Howell has proven experience with a record of exemplary service at both the state and national level. Now, he hopes to further deepen his service as a member of the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board.
Howell decided to run for election to the Corn Board because he feels that he owes a debt of gratitude to the industry. As he has been fortunate enough to have children that have the desire and ability to take over management of the family operation, he wants to devote time back to the service of that industry and use his accumulated experience and leadership skills to the fullest of his ability.
“Agriculture and, in particular, the corn industry have been very good to my family for generations,” he said. “It has literally meant life to us. Mary and I have reached a point where we are able and very much want to give back now.”
As a member of the Corn Board, Howell would work for the best interest of all U.S. corn growers, keeping their best interest in heart while pursuing the long-term well-being of American agriculture. He would aim to maintain the association’s pragmatic approach to policy development while best utilizing the talented pool from which it draws leadership.
“2014 is our 43rd year of farming together,” Howell explained. “We have experienced both the very good and very bad times. We lived and survived through the 1980s. I have worked with the Indiana corn organization which farmers here have struggled to get up and going since the 1970s. With a lot of outside help from a lot of the other states, we have finally arrived.
“My business and organizational experience, combined with my academic training in economics and policy issues, and, most importantly, the drive to contribute make me a uniquely qualified candidate.”
Howell sees a number of important issues with which farmers must deal on the horizon, but he also sees a special challenge in confronting the shifting landscape.
“Looking ahead, there are a number of events which may develop and require NCGA to be very nimble as a large organization,” said Howell. “We have turned a corner. With a huge crop coming this year, and the potential for many more down the road, we need to expand demand. At the same time, we need to work to minimize government intrusion and over-regulation.”
In addition to these issues, Howell discussed the importance of confronting issues in the biotechnology and public image arenas as well.
Howell operates a first-generation family farm which he founded with his wife in Middleton, Indiana. Along with their two sons, they grow corn and soybeans as well as processing tomatoes and pumpkins marketed to major retailers nationwide. Additionally, the family also has agricultural interests in Brazil that produce corn and soybeans.
Currently, Howell serves on the NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team and as a director for the U.S. Grains Council and Indiana Corn Marketing Council. He is also a member of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture Advisory Board and the Purdue University Center for Commercial Agriculture Industry Council.
To listen to the full interview with Howell, click here.
The NCGA Corn Board election takes place during Corn Congress on July 16 in Washington.