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Posted on  

December 15, 2003

Michigan Leaders Set Course for New Year at Action Team Meetings

DEWITT, MICH. – Although the 2003 calendar year is rapidly winding down, the Michigan Corn Growers Association (MCGA) and Corn Marketing Program of Michigan (CMPM) have already jump-started 2004 by participating in Action Team and Committee meetings through the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA).

“The NCGA Action Teams demonstrate the grassroots nature of the National and Michigan corn producer-driven organizations. Producers and staff members work together to discuss issues of critical importance to corn growers across the country and get updated on the progress of projects and programs already underway and set priorities for their work over the next year” said MCGA and CMPM Executive Director Jody E. Pollok, who serves as State Staff Liaison for NCGA’s Research and Business Development Action team.

Serving as Vice-Chairman on the Research and Business Development Action Team is MCGA Chairman and CMPM Treasurer Clark Gerstacker, a Midland corn producer. He says much of the work that the Research and Business Development Action Team is doing is an overview of ongoing, long-term projects. “Within two to five years, we expect that researchers will have the entire corn genome mapped. We’re trying to keep that in the public sector, so future genetic improvements can be made quicker, we can have more access to the technology and the products will be widely available. We are also looking at corn as a source of many different industrial chemicals that are currently obtained from petroleum. We also anticipate seeing progress on research to increase the amount of ethanol we can get from a bushel of corn by breaking down the carbohydrates left in the current byproducts of ethanol production. These are just a few of the promising and exciting new ways we hope to increase producer profitability in the future. We’re also strengthening our ties with the livestock industry, which has long been the biggest user of corn. We need to continue to develop and support that market in addition to looking for new markets. It is the entire system which must stay in balance that will keep us successful. The most difficult thing is that while we are setting goals for the coming year, we also need to understand that a lot of this success is going to be a few years away.”

MCGA Vice-President Brian Kreps, a corn producer from Temperance, is beginning his second year on the NCGA Public Policy Action Team. He says his group is keying in on three issues which build on work done in the past. “First, we are already looking ahead at a review of the Farm Bill. We were very successful as we were able to get some new programs included in the program last time and we hope to do the same again next time. It takes many years of work and review to develop the programs that will positively impact both producers and consumers. We also plan to continue building the rural economies through the development of farmer investment opportunities which will increase producer profitability, so that’s another area in which we are focused. Thirdly, as it relates to producer profitability we are looking at the crop insurance system and programs. As part of that work, we plan to ask farmers by surveying them to learn more about their thoughts and concerns about the program. We realized we have a big plan for the next year, but these are all critical issues for today’s corn producers.”

Bruce Noel, a corn grower from Leslie and member of the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan Board of Directors, serves on the NCGA Ethanol Committee. “We met to discuss the failed cloture vote in the U.S. Senate on the Energy Bill. We agreed that Midwestern states hold the key to passing this landmark legislation. We fully expect the Energy Bill and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to remain alive in January, even with the upcoming national elections. We think it is important to keep NCGA and the nation’s corn producers energized, to keep the grassroots ready for action and to thank those that supported the Energy Bill and the RFS. We also know that we must stay engaged even after passage of the bill to make sure that the Environmental Protection Agency and other regulatory bodies implement the new standards. In addition to ethanol, we focused on DDG research as well as ongoing research on carbon dioxide,” said Noel.

NCGA has four Action Teams which are Grower Services, Production and Stewardship, Public Policy, and Research and Business Development, and two standing Committees including Ethanol and Biotechnology. These groups are driven by the producer members from across the country with guidance by state and national staff. The action team meetings were the first step in NCGA’s planning for the new year. The next step is the Policy and Priority meeting slated for January in which policy is drafted that will be debated and voted on at the Corn Congress meetings held in conjunction with Commodity Classic.

Headquartered in DeWitt, the Michigan Corn Growers Association is a grassroots-membership association representing the state’s corn producers’ political interests. Since the 1970s the MCGA has been looking out for the state’s corn producers and keeping them on the cutting edge. For more information, visit the website of MCGA and the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan at www.micorn.org.



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