Last week, most of the Illinois Corn staff and nearly all of their farmer leaders were in Nashville, TN for the Commodity Classic. This entire event is a collection of corn, soybean, wheat, and sorghum farmers from all over the nation. This year, we broke a record with over 6,000 farmers in attendance!
So what do we do while we’re there? The most important event for IL Corn is “Corn Congress.” This is when National Corn Growers Association delegates (farmers leaders from each state) come together to present and review policy directives that give the National Corn Growers Association staff and the corresponding state staff direction on what to pursue the following year.
This was confusing to me at first. Basically, the farmers get together and complete new statements or revise old statements that reflect what they as a body of corn farmers believe. Things like, “We support public funding of land grant institutions to disseminate information, science, etc. about biotech.” And “Grain marketing value should be determined on a dry matter and intrinsic value basis.” are the sorts of things we discuss. At the end of the Congress, we have a book of values statements that staff are able to follow when making a decision about how we should react in any given situation.
But there are also lots of other perks to being at Commodity Classic. Their trade show is one of the largest farm trade shows all year with over 900 booths this year. The farmer leaders and all the other farmers that come to the event get to enjoy representatives from every ag industry you can imagine, hearing about new technologies and making contacts that will utimately better their farms. Pictured is Jeff Jarboe, a Loda, IL farmer, discussing farm business with a trade show representative.
And we find plenty of time to unwind too. In fact, we build fun time into fundraising time. This photo of IL Corn staffer Dave Loos and Illinois Corn Growers Association Vice President Paul Taylor was taken during the NCGA PAC auction. Farmers bid on auction items to raise money for NCGA’s political activities throughout the year. This year, we raised $144,000!
If you are not a farmer, please know how hard farmers work to develop a national organization that really represents who they are and is a leader on the national political stage.