LINCOLN, NEBRASKA – Young leaders in agriculture attended Corn Congress in Washington, D.C. last week to learn more about U.S. agricultural policy, meet with policy leaders and take part in Corn Congress with corn grower leaders from across the country.
Each summer, corn grower leaders and staff from state and national corn associations gather in Washington D.C. for a series of action team and committee meetings, visits with their respective state’s Congressional delegation and the semi-annual Corn Congress.
The Nebraska Corn Board sponsored nine delegates to partake in the second annual Leadership Mission after being selected through an application process to attend the Corn Congress. Delegates consisted of young agricultural leaders from the LEAD program and FFA.
While in Washington, D.C., delegates had the opportunity to engage in meetings with Federal agencies, national agricultural cooperators and associations, engage in international trade policy discussions, participate in Congressional visits and network with industry leaders. They also had a tour with leadership mission delegates from Iowa and Ohio. As a group, they toured the Delmarva region and observed agriculture at Wye Angus, Arnold Vegetable Farms, cucumber harvest at Nagel Farm and Kenny Bros Grading Operation.
“The Corn Congress Leadership Mission was very insightful,” said Morgan Zumpfe, Nebraska Corn Board intern from Friend, Nebraska and past leadership mission participant. Zumpfe helped coordinate the mission and attended the event with the delegation in Washington, D.C. “Visiting a cucumber harvest, getting to question the people who determine our laws, and experiencing corn industry leaders from all states working cooperatively helped us realize how complex agriculture is.”
This year’s delegates were: Keith Borer, Elgin, Nebraska; Ryan Broderson, Randolph, Nebraska; Nicole D’Angelo, Auburn, California; Kerry McPheeters, Gothenburg, Nebraska; Jolene Messinger, McCook, Nebraska; Andy Method, Decatur, Nebraska; Joel Miller, Hampton, Nebraska; Glen Ready, Scribner, Nebraska; and Courtney Spilker, Beatrice, Nebraska.
“I am very glad to have been given this opportunity. As someone interested in Ag Policy and in advocating for our farmers, this opportunity has allowed me to network with some of the key policy makers and advocates in the ag industry,” said Glen Ready, UNL student and leadership mission delegate from Scribner. “Nebraska Corn Board and the National Corn Growers Association have been an integral part in giving me the opportunities, and I am incredibly grateful that I have had the chance to develop skills to better serve our state.”
Upon returning from the tour, delegates will submit a report of activities to the Board and submit a blog post to be featured on the Nebraska Corn Kernels blog.
“The Corn Congress trip broadened my understanding of the ground roots process that the national and state corn growers and Nebraska Corn Board has available for Nebraska producers to have a voice in Washington,” said Keith Borer, LEAD participant from Elgin. “The trip helped me understand the many parts of the U.S. government and all of the different forces pulling our elected representatives in different directions. We must be active voices to our representatives to ensure they represent Nebraska’s farm economy well.”
The Nebraska Corn Board’s market development, research, promotion and education programs are funded and managed by Nebraska corn farmers. Producers invest at a rate of 1/2 of a cent per bushel of corn sold.
Editor’s Note: There are two photos available, as well as two audio sound bites to use for radio or podcast. Details listed below.
Photo 1 tagline: Delegates of the Nebraska Corn Board Leadership Mission stand in front of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. These delegates represent young leaders in agriculture through the LEAD and FFA programs.
Photo 2 tagline: Courtney Spilker (left) and Morgan Zumpfe, listen in to discussions during Corn Congress, held in Washington, D.C.
Audio Sound Bite 1 (30 seconds): Morgan Zumpfe, Nebraska Corn Board intern from Friend, Nebraska and past leadership mission participant
Audio Sound Bite 2 (25 seconds): Morgan Zumpfe, Nebraska Corn Board intern from Friend, Nebraska and past leadership mission participant