October 17, 2016

Corn Congress Leadership Mission


In July, the Nebraska Corn Board, through our corn farmer’s checkoff investments, supported eight Nebraska agricultural leaders to join corn growers, staff and leaders during the National Corn Growers Association’s (NCGA) Annual Corn Congress meeting.

The meeting took place in our Nation’s capital from July 18 - July 21. Throughout the three days, the eight Nebraska Corn Leaders were able to interact with nearly 200 farmers and leaders from all across the U.S., Nebraska’s Congressional Delegation and agribusiness leaders from some of the leading agribusiness companies. They were also provided with the opportunity to advance their personal and professional leadership skills, develop an understanding of the role and importance that NCGA plays in agricultural policy and engage in a hands-on tour of agricultural production in the Delmarva Region.

Below is an outline of the agenda:
  • Monday, July 18: flight to Washington DC and Nighttime Tour of City and Monuments 
  • Tuesday, July 19: tour of the Delmarva Region, including tours of: Oyster Recovery Center, Grasonville, MD; Nagel Cucumber Farm, Denton, MD; Kenny Brothers Grading Station, Bridgeville, DE; and an evening activity with leaders from Missouri, Ohio and Iowa 
  • Wednesday, July 20: NCGA’s Corn Congress, Capitol Hill Visits and agribusiness Meetings 
  • Thursday, July 21: NCGA’s Corn Congress, Agribusiness meetings and flights home 

Attendees of the Nebraska's Corn Congress Leadership Mission included: Sam Krueger of Blue Hill, Curtis Stallbaumer of Oconto, Toni Rasmussen of Newman Grove, David Schuler of Bridgeport, Clint Shipman of Red Cloud, Andrea Wach of Wauneta, Emily Puls of Emerson and Amanda Kowalewski of Gothenburg.

Below is a video that Nebraska Corn Leader, Andrea Wach, made about the experience. (or click here to view)

Additionally, below is what Nebraska Corn Leader, Clint Shipman, shared about his experience…

“I had the privilege of attending the National Corn Growers Association Corn Congress in Washington, D.C. The Nebraska Corn Board sponsored me, as a Nebraska Corn Leader. This experience has helped to further develop my leadership skills along with broadening my knowledge of the United States agricultural industry.

The observations I made during this event were very diverse. We had the opportunity to tour Harris Seafood Co., which has an oyster farm in Queensland County, Maryland. The biggest takeaway from this experience was hearing the owner, Jason, talk about his operation. The phrases, “nitrogen and phosphorus management” and “planting this year went smoothly”, are two very familiar statements. He explained one of his biggest concerns was labor along with over-regulation when it pertains to the minimum wage; two issues that also pertain to farm operations here in Nebraska.

While in Queensland County we made a stop at Nagal Farms. Hannah Cowley gave us a tour of the cucumber harvest process in one of her fields. She outlined the growing season of cucumbers. Forty-five days is all that is needed for cucumbers to reach maturity, making it possible for double cropping. Soybeans or cucumbers can be the second crop. 

The cucumbers raised will later become pickles and the farmers use Kenny Brothers Cumber as a distributor to companies such as Clausen, Vlasic, or Allan Pickle, to name a few. Viewing the many steps this unique crop goes through before I get to see it inside of my fridge was intriguing to watch.

At the NCGA Corn Congress Meeting we attended on Wednesday, July 20th, we saw delegates vote on new policy along with new National Corn Board candidates be elected to the Board. The opportunity to witness the process that the association uses to adopt a policy at the national level is something I can share with farmers in my community. When associations talk about grassroots, I now can say I have seen the policy ideas go from the farmer’s field all the way to the state and national level. 

The individuals I was introduced to and able to network with while in Washington, DC made me realize the tight-knit community the agriculture industry is. Large in scope, but also still reflects the relationships that mirror small farm characteristics. Agriculture is one of the most progressive industries in the world, but it has not lost sight that the most powerful tools are to work together as a team. The experience I had during Corn Congress showed me the importance of coming together to find common goals when working to develop sound policy in a government that continues to be over-regulated.”

Interested in applying for the 2017 Corn Congress Leadership Mission? 
Email Emily Thornburg for details: emily.thornburg@nebraska.gov. 

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