Excited to get started as new president of ICGA
Hello from Triple S Smith Farms in Windfall, Ind., on a cold and windy February day. I am the newly elected president of the Indiana Corn Growers Association, and I have big shoes to fill. I have watched closely as Mike Beard led our organization for the past two years to increased membership and political clout at both the federal and state policy areas. I’m glad that Mike is still going to be around to continue to help us advocate for Hoosier corn farmers.
Although we have many issues to address, I’m excited to get started. Before we talk about the politics that could affect Indiana farmers, I thought I’d introduce myself to you.
I am the third generation to work our family farm which is in parts of Tipton, Howard and Madison counties. We’re a diversified crop farm. We grow corn for ethanol, seed soybeans for Beck’s Hybrids and process tomatoes for Red Gold. I am a full-time farmer, and I began farming in 1974. Prior to ICGA, I was a member of the Indiana Vegetable Growers Association.
Generally speaking, I want to expand opportunities for ethanol use because I believe Indiana corn growers will benefit. I want to protect farmers’ rights from government regulations and overreach. I support policies that promote food safety, and I favor legal immigration to provide a sufficient workforce in agriculture. I also support educational programs.
ICGA is an active group with active members. Nationally and internationally, we partner with groups such as the Indiana Corn Marketing Council (ICMC), the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and the U.S. Grains Council (USGC). ICMC is Indiana’s corn checkoff program and a sponsor of many of our policy events. NCGA offers its members opportunities like the National Corn Yield Contest in addition to advocating for farmers’ right on federal issues in Washington, D.C. The USGC maintains offices in dozens of countries around the world to help create new, foreign markets for U.S.-grown corn and grains.
In December, ICGA organized and hosted the Ag Policy Forum and featured speakers who talked about the challenges of the U.S. supply chain. In January, ICGA hosted the Bacon Bar and Brunch legislative breakfast at the Indiana Statehouse. This breakfast gave dozens of Indiana farmers the chance to talk to lawmakers in state government about policies that would affect agriculture. In addition, ICGA plans Shop Talks and Coffee Shop Talks which provide more one-on-one discussions with legislators. These events create influential opportunities – a chance to communicate what is important to farmers to people who may have not even visited a farm. These opportunities require farmers who are willing to step up and participate in the fact-finding, legislative process. While I’m honored to lead ICGA for the next year, this organization is only going to be successful as long as we have farmers willing to share their stories and advocate for agriculture. So that’s my first message as ICGA president: Join us, find your voice and share it with those who hold political power. Let’s move the causes of Indiana agriculture forward for many years to come.