The National Corn Growers Association enters a new fiscal year today and seated the 2014 Corn Board with Martin Barbre of Carmi, Ill., assuming the presidency. Off the Cob spoke with the new president to explore his views on what lies ahead for corn farmers in 2014 and his goals for his term.
"My three main goals for the year are to get a farm bill passed, to keep the Renewable Fuel Standard intact and to get a Water Resources Reform and Development Act passed," he said. "What I want is to see the association move forward. Going along with that, I would like to see incredible growth of membership continue. The 15 solid years of membership growth that we have seen proves that we are really doing a good job at NCGA. I want to continue that legacy."
Looking at the assets that NCGA brings to the table to confront both long- and short-term challenges, he notes the importance of not just growing in numbers but also of growing in member participation.
"We have so many great programs at NCGA and, over the coming year, I would really like to see more farmers get actively involved," said Barbre. "Programs like CommonGround and the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance are really growing, and we need to get even more people involved. Even at a local and state level, I hope to see more people get involved by contacting their Congressmen on key issues."
Barbre aims to help the association maintain its historical excellence while looking ahead to create a vibrant industry for the farmers yet to come.
"NCGA has been a strong voice for corn farmers in the United States for a long time. I want to continue that tradition. I want to continue representing our members well, advocating for the policies and achieving the goals that will allow farmers to grow in productivity and prosperity.
"The reason that I serve as a leader personally is to help create a bright, prosperous future for my son on the farm. I want to build a long-term future for our nation's farmers and the generations that will follow."
To listen to the full interview, please click here.