New NCGA president foresees growth in 2009

By Ryan C. Christiansen | September 08, 2008
Web exclusive posted Oct. 6, 2008 at 11:15 a.m. CST

Nebraska corn grower Bob Dickey became president of the National Corn Growers Association on Oct. 1. Dickey has been a member of the Nebraska Corn Checkoff Board for more than 11 years, where he has served as chairman. He is also active in the U.S. Grains Council, where he has served as chairman. Dickey also served as a Nebraska state senator.

Dickey becomes the leader for the NCGA at a time when farmers are harvesting what is expected to be the second-largest corn harvest on record. Dickey said the long-term outlook for corn is great with technology partners expected to help farmers double yields during the next generation.

Dickey owns and operates a diversified grain and livestock farming operation that grows corn and soybeans and raises swine and cattle. With the use of new technology, production agriculture is seeing enormous benefits in yield, in growing more bushels per acre, Dickey noted. And he expects biotechnology to move in several directions over the next few years, especially growing in global acceptance.

"We are in a great age when we are seeing the possibility of growing so much more grain for food, for feed, for fuel and all other uses," Dickey said. "Our technology partners are expecting to double yield in the coming generation, and growers are working harder and smarter than ever."

Dickey said a chief challenge for the NCGA is the attack on growers with regard to ethanol. "We will continue to work closely with our allies on this particular debate to make sure the American people and our policy makers know the truth - ethanol is good for our economy, our environment and our energy security," he said. "We welcome a debate that is honest and based on scientifically proven facts."

Dickey said he wants to boost the image of corn as a can do crop - that can meet many needs in a sustainable manner. Finding new markets and expanding current markets is a crucial part of the NCGA mission, Dickey added. As a new administration takes over in Washington, and with the possibility of new faces in congressional leadership, Dickey said the association needs to build relationships and work to ensure that policy changes are favorable for producers.

In 2007 NCGA was instrumental in the enactment of the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program which was part of the 2008 farm bill. Its implementation in NCGA's 2008-09 fiscal year is crucial to the program's ultimate success, Dickey added.