Why I’ve been an IL Corn Growers Association Member for 40+ years
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My name is Rob Elliott. We live and farm near Monmouth, IL in the West Central part of the state. I’ve been a member of the IL Corn Growers Association for more than 40 years. I’ve also had the privilege of serving as an officer and director of the Illinois board, as well as, the National Corn Growers Association board. Allow me to provide a brief perspective on what being a member in IL has meant to me and many farmers across the state.
We in ag probably have been somewhat guilty of taking success for granted in good times and complaining about things when times get challenging. Success in any business or industry from a big picture perspective, doesn’t just happen. It’s the result of a lot of hard work and effort coupled with some pretty significant investment. Prosperity and profitability in an industry don’t come quickly either. Change or market progress happen as the result of long-term efforts focused on strategic continuous improvement coupled with check-off type investments toward the future health of the industry. Illinois Corn Growers has led the charge to this end since its inception 50 some years ago.
Key success participation areas for IL Corn over the last several years –
- Development of the ethanol industry creating new corn demand for 5 billion bushels of corn
- Investment in new corn uses resulting in increased corn grind
- New export market development with emerging world economies in conjunction with US Grains Council
- Significant partnership efforts with the livestock industries and other commodity organizations
- Longtime advocacy for upgrades and replacement to Locks and Dams on our inland waterway system
- Numerous and diverse policy efforts including work on many Farm Bills
- Biotech freedom to operate for corn traits around the world for approval and import
- Image and advocacy efforts to maintain ag relevancy to a growing urban population
When it comes to the policy arena, whether in Washington DC or Springfield, IL, IL Corn has been a very respected voice and always taken a leadership role. The key strength for Corn Growers has always been the value of the organization’s grassroots nature – an entity of farmers led by farmers. That grassroots perspective is a competitive advantage in capturing the attention of legislative representatives. Policy tends to be a complex area that takes watchdog vigilance and continual efforts to keep pace with the issues affecting all of us as growers in so many ways. Often success in policy is not always what you get to happen but often what you keep from happening. We as Illinois farmers and corn growers have been represented well here.
So as we think back over the decades passed and long careers for many, we certainly have faced many challenges in our industry and market. In the final tally though, we have experienced significant success, increased profitability, and market growth. Many of these milestone achievements would not have been possible without the diligent efforts of the Illinois Corn Growers Association. I am proud to say being a member of the organization over those many years has been a positive experience and a great investment in each of our collective futures. My hope is that things can continue, new folks will step forward to participate, and future generations can benefit as many of us have experienced.