As the National Corn Growers Association prepares for another fiscal year, outgoing NCGA President Bob Dickey recently reflected on a successful year in which leadership addressed many vital issues, setting the stage for further policy successes.

“Since October 2008, we have seen huge shifts in the political and social landscapes,” said Dickey, a grower from Laurel, Neb. “Together, our board worked tirelessly to ensure that future generations of growers would benefit from intelligent public policy decisions.”

“Today, business success and profitability for producers hinges on the attitudes and actions of our elected officials. Recognizing this, NCGA board and staff worked together to build and maintain relationships during the administration change.”

In 2009, corn farmers promoted energy independence and economic growth in rural America by supporting efforts to increase ethanol blends. NCGA called on members to flood the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with comments supporting higher ethanol blends in gasoline. Thousands answered and showed the agency the importance of this initiative to both farmers and the country.

Working with many of its state affiliates, NCGA also launched a major educational campaign in Washington that resulted in an infusion of fact-based information on how innovative farmers are growing more corn every year with fewer resources while protecting the environment.

“As corn farmers, we are better equipped than many groups when making our case to the government and the public,” Dickey said. “The truth is on our side. The more that people understand how modern producers grow more corn with less land, pesticides and fertilizers, the more that they support us.”

“Next year, the campaign will broaden its scope dramatically as the NCGA launches a program to enhance the image of the American farmer with the public. Again, messages will focus on the innovative nature of our industry, the many benefits which it provides them and the stewardship of growers.”

Incredible state participation makes these projects possible, Dickey noted. “Over the course of the year, NCGA sought to increase communication both with and among the states. These efforts benefit all stakeholders as they allow us to address issues and create opportunities with the largest scope and loudest voice possible.”

2009 was a record year for the NCGA in many respects. First, the organization set a new membership record in August with rolls swelling to 36,378 growers. Then, the association received a record number of entries for the National Corn Yield Contest. While the exact number of submissions is still being finalized, the final tally will be over 6,950 entries. The records show the growing support for NCGA programs and demonstrate the value that growers feel the association provides them, Dickey said. “As the organization moves forward, we do so in a spirit of cooperation and unity,” Dickey concluded. “So long as we continue in the same vein, I believe the future looks bright and exciting.”