Ag Blogs -
Tuesday, 17 March 2009 15:14
Another “Commodity Classic” is history. This year it was held in Grapevine, Texas, and I was fortunate to attend.
The Gaylord hotel proved to be an excellent convention facility for the commodity organizations and also for the exhibitors at the trade show. New this year to the commodity organizations participating is the National Sorghum Producers Association.
The National Association of Wheat Growers joined National Corn Growers Association and American Soybean Association three years ago. Having four commodity organizations conducting business at the same meeting has many benefits for exhibitors and farmers attending this great meeting. Comments I heard from the media were also positive to the point of “no shortage of news today” to comments about “how do I get all of these interviews done”? I really feel that this event will only get more popular over the next few years as numbers from all commodity organizations involved increase. Anyone who has ever attended the classic will tell you that this is an ideal meeting to find what’s new in the industry--if you need additional information about anything involving agriculture you can get your answers here. Most companies have their “upper management” executives at this meeting and are on the trade show floor most of the time.
Since I have always represented NCGA (corn) I will comment mostly on that area but I always have good visits with people representing wheat, soybeans and sorghum too.
This year the NCGA corn yield contest had record breaking entries. This helped attendance at the Classic, but in my opinion, the good financial health of agriculture is the real reason for the high attendance at the Classic.
If you sit in on any of the delegate sessions of the commodity organizations you can get a glimpse of what is on many producers’ minds these days. On the minds of most members and delegates is the future. At the National Corn Growers delegate session, increasing the ethanol blending rate was an important resolution. Since corn prices are influenced by ethanol profitability, corn growers are looking for anything that will keep the ethanol industry healthy and make our country less dependent on foreign oil. The other “hot topic” at corn growers was the Farm Bill and whether it will be changed in the first year after its passage. NCGA passed policy opposing change in the current farm bill including a separate resolution that opposes program eligibility requirements based of gross sales. Any farmer knows that sales do not mean profit and limiting a farm’s farm bill eligibility by gross sales guarantees that many farmers will not have the safety net that the farm bill was intended to provide.
One bit of news I heard from the Wheat Growers was their desire to get biotech wheat introduced. There is no doubt that this will be good for the future of wheat and its sustainability. Increased yields and new traits will set the stage for many exciting things to come.
The sorghum folks are excited about their new national checkoff and the research that will bring higher yields and better hybrids. Again, producers are looking to the future and doing things to improve their farms.
There was no shortage of excitement at the soybean association meeting. The differences between ASA and United Soybean Board are public and much has been written about it, but as a soybean producer and ASA member I feel it is time for both parties to move ahead for the good of the producer. ASA also has the same concerns as corn about opening the farm bill and exposing farmers to more risk due to not being eligible for farm programs or not having enough support from our government due to more cuts to an already weak farm bill.
This year’s commodity classic was another successful event due to the many producers, exhibitors and commodity association members. Interest in our profession is a tremendous driver that fuels our efficiency and keeps us sustainable. We all go to meetings and shows like the Classic to see all the new things and find ways to improve our farms. Thanks to all of you who belong to a commodity organization and took the time to sit in on one of the delegate sessions, your voice will be heard through these organizations. Agriculture is more prosperous because of members who take the time to care.
Ken McCauley farms 4,000 acres of corn & soybeans with his wife Mary and son Brad. He served as president of the National Corn Growers Association in 2007, and is on the board of the Kansas Corn Commission.