Ted Mottaz of Elmwood became the Illinois Corn Growers Association President in November of 2018, and he’s been working to lead the organization and accomplish our priorities ever since.
Mottaz retired from teaching in 2002, but he was eager to become more involved in his community with the extra time. So, after a long time of other community service opportunities, Ted landed at ICGA as a director since 2012 and Vice President in 2018.
Ted says, “It’s been easy to make corn a priority because your association has a great set of goals and is committed to making an impact for corn farmers in the state.”
As the association president, he sees the legislative goals as the first priority for his tenure. That means, his first focus is on ratifying the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, building market pathways for higher ethanol blends, and finally getting started on that first, elusive lock and dam in Illinois.
Based on conversations in DC, IL Corn is hopeful that any transportation funding and priorities from the federal government will include locks and dams, the longest standing single priority of IL Corn. Ted and the association rely on a unique partnership with the barge industry, conservation groups, labor interests, and agriculture to lobby for this very needed investment. Waterways Council Inc who represents all the interests is key to this work.
Ted finds value at simply being at the table for any conversations on any of our priorities and he’s confident in the staff at IL Corn to make that happen.
“Rodney Weinzierl and the rest of our staff are just out of this world. They have vision and foresight, connections and conversations, and they position the association well to always participate in discussions about our issues. Whether the conversation is going our way or not, you definitely can’t win if you aren’t a part of the discussion and I think we excel at that,” Ted said.
Back at home, Ted’s focus is on the corn and soybeans he grows with his father and brother in Knox County. And, of course, on his wife of 48 years, Janet, and his kids and grandkids.
But on the farm, he’s very focused on his own conservation plans. Like most farmers, he’s focused on leaving the ground better than he received it.
He’s proud to say that his farm has side-dressed corn since 1961 and has implemented strip-til in the years since. On some fields, he applies nitrogen three times – strip til and on the end rows in the fall, apply on the planter in the spring, and then again side-dress.
“I’m no different from other ICGA Presidents; I just want to leave my farm and the association better than it was when it was handed to me. I hope that we can make some progress on these legislative goals and we’ll certainly keep working on conservation progress to meet the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy guidelines. I’ll be pleased with that success,” he said.