Maize Matters: Solid Solutions Require Showing Up

PAC Committee Chairman, Jim Reed

Apr 08, 2024  |  ICGA

Outcomes are decided by those that show up.The success of teams in the recent NCAA basketball tournament (Go Illini) are directly related to the time and commitment spent preparing for this season.


The players showed up for practice, showed up for film, showed up for class and showed up for the game. If any member of the team didn’t contribute to the effort, the whole team would not be as successful. I first got involved with campaigns and politics when I was in the eighth grade. I learned about the process and met dedicated candidates that would make decisions about my future.

Being a volunteer with a campaign is a great way to have an influence on the issues important to you and your family. But many of you don’t always have the time to get involved at that level. This is where your IL Corn PAC can help. I now serve as the IL Corn Growers Association Political Action Committee (IL Corn PAC) Chairman. During my several years on the PAC Committee, I have come to appreciate the influence our members who show up have on policy and legislation. We have a greater chance of a positive outcome when we show up early and often to express our needs to our elected officials. When we all show up and contribute our relevancy is impressive. 


Here are some lessons I’ve learned about ICGA’s political relevancy and involvement:


1. Agriculture is a bipartisan issue
Although we have our own political leanings, agriculture is one of the topics everyone can rally behind. From rural to urban lawmakers, 

every person in every district needs our farmers to survive. Through my years with ICGA, I have been pleasantly surprised by the
bipartisan work completed by elected officials to support our priorities. ICGA has champions for our issues in both political parties. As a blue state with a large urban population, Illinois has the opportunity to work with diverse representatives cultivating unique relationships from other ag states.


2. Start somewhere- it’s better than never starting at all
Although small beginnings can be discouraging, it’s the only way to eventually have a big impact. You must start somewhere. If you are frustrated with the amount of influence you currently have, you must get engaged and press forward. Do one more thing than you did before and grow in involvement each year. Over the years, I have seen how engagement creates change by showing up once and then again. 


3. Government is for the people and by the people, but actually only by the people that show up.
The world is run by people that show up and are heard. I’ve watched the influence farmers have when they are sharing their concerns about the issues that directly impact their families. Our government officials and elected representatives value your input. Being involved with ICGA and the PAC helps to amplify your voice. I don’t have to remind you state and federal policy can be complex. Your representative will receive mountains of input on every issue, but they value hearing from their constituents. Your opportunity to educate and influence can only happen if you show up. Reach out, ask questions, expect answers - you’ll never know what influence you might have.