The Indiana corn and soybean organizations hosted a joint policy forum at the Glass Barn Tuesday, and the event brought farmers from all over the state and a panel of speakers that included the CEO’s of the national corn and soybean organizations and the two ag committee chairs of Indiana state government. Northern Indiana farmer and Indiana Soybean Alliance director Jerry Osterholt said all the panelists had a common message to farmers.
“Definitely to become more involved with the legislative process by finding out who your representative is, contacting them, and having a personal relationship with them so when they have a question about ag, they know who to go to. You!”
National Corn Growers Asscociation CEO Chris Novak just started that role after leading the National Pork Board. Prior to that he headed up the Indiana corn and soy groups, leading them to combine separate offices and staff. They then collaborated with Indiana pork and beef in bringing all four under one roof. Novak spoke about the importance of collaboration, and he hopes to bring the kind of success Indiana has enjoyed to future talks between NCGA and livestock groups. That will be a challenge.
“The Corn Board is committed to working with the livestock industry,” he said. “The hog guys, the cattle guys, they’re a pretty darned independent bunch, and from their standpoint, not having dealt with government programs, not really having a livestock insurance type program in place for the most part, they don’t want government on their farm. I don’t know that you’ll ever see livestock farmers who will reach out and embrace and love the RFS. I don’t know that that’s what we should expect.”
Novak said NCGA is meeting with the pork board later this month to discuss a range of issues including sustainability.
“Livestock is looking at us because about two-thirds of their carbon footprint assessment is from feed, and so they want to see us do some things to reduce corn’s carbon footprint. Those are places where we can start.”
He said those discussions won’t end any debates, but it’s important to work together in areas where they have much in common.