Yes, it’s true. Illinois does have two corn organizations. The Illinois Corn Growers Association and the Illinois Corn Marketing Board are both housed under this roof in Bloomington, IL.
Each have very different functions.
The Illinois Corn Growers Association is a membership organization. Illinois corn farmers pay dues to be a part of our association and the Association lobbies in Washington, DC and Springfield, IL on their behalf. The ICGA concerns themselves with issues like Farm Bill negotiations in Washington, DC, regulations that prevent farmers from farming the best and most efficient way, and providing information on candidates and their agricultural platforms to help our members make informed voting decisions. We also work on educating our members on key issues and calling them to action when needed.
The Illinois Corn Marketing Board administers the Illinois corn checkoff. A checkoff is a system for Illinois corn farmers to pool their money to promote their product. Just like a business would have a marketing and promotion budget, most of the major commodities grown in the US have a checkoff.
In Illinois, every time a farmer markets a bushel of corn, he or she pays 3/8 of a cent into the Illinois corn checkoff. In 2012, we estimate that amount will be roughly $7 million. The Illinois Corn Marketing Board then allocates that $7 million into projects that better the Illinois corn industry.
As an example, a new crop insurance product is available for Illinois farmers in 2012 that saves them significant premium costs. The product was created, researched, submitted for approval, and now offered to farmers with the corn checkoff funds that each farmer donated.
The Illinois Corn Marketing Board works on issues like building new markets for corn, talking about corn farmers and corn farming to non-farmers, and helping corn move more efficiently into the marketplace.
Want to know more about what both organizations are doing? Check us out at www.ilcorn.org!