New Year, New Board, Same Priorities

Guest author and OCWGA President Mark Wachtman:

2011 weather kept most of us in the state of Ohio wondering what was going to happen next. Which, to say the least, made for a very interesting year for the state’s farming community.

Your volunteers at the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association board had some of the same indefinite thoughts regarding ethanol, the Farm Bill and water quality, to name a few agricultural issues of interest. In addition, we were experiencing our first year as a combined organization!

Given these multiple variables, this board did an excellent job!

We (farmers) went from being regarded as one who was needed to help our country transition some of its dependence on foreign oil, to being regarded as taking food from our families and neighbors, as reprimanded by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and some media. Despite the incessant attacks, and unlike our friends involved with Big Oil, we did step up and request that the ethanol tax credit, VEETC, not be renewed and let it expire as it did with the close of 2011. While this has the potential to increase fuel prices, we believed it was fair to let the market work naturally and allow the ethanol industry to continue to mature on its own. This industry is still under heavy pressure indirectly from Big Oil and large food processors and our board will continue to defend our homegrown fuel and industry.

Farm Bill Safety Net
I am glad to say that we were prepared for this issue as well as any. We had great leadership from board members and staff. We worked hard to bring what we want for Ohio to the attention of both the National Corn Growers Association and the National Association of Wheat Growers to have a louder voice and share common ground. We’re continuing to work with these organizations and our congressional leaders to shift from the structure of direct payments toward a better loss-trigger product and protect and strengthen the crop insurance program.

Water Quality
This has been, and will continue to be, a moving enigma. There are many opinions about what quality water is and should be. We continue to try to get science behind this and present facts — not emotion — to support our beliefs about what’s best for the farm industry.

We introduced 27 people into a combined organization — All did a great job! When we started down this road at the beginning of 2011, everyone knew and voted that we would be a 15-member board by this time. I had the distinct pleasure of working with great individuals. I am proud to say that I had the opportunity to work with these people of whom have chosen to step down at this time: Kent Eddy, Terry McClure, Rob Rettig, Loran Brooks, David Cramer, Jay Griffith, Brad Haas, Phil Wenig, Charles Prasuhn, Dick VanTilburg, David Brewer, Richard McGinnis, Jerry Murphy, Ed Reely, Fred Yoder and Ron Rockhold. Thanks to all of you!

I, and everyone at OCWGA, look forward to a new year of navigating challenges and leveraging opportunities to improve our state’s corn and wheat industries.

We welcome your questions/comments about or related to our work to support and advance the Ohio grain industry. If you’re interested in joining OCWGA, please contact us.


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