MCGA grows membership and gains clout

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Since January 1, Minnesota Corn Growers Association has increased membership by 284, securely topping the 6,000 mark–6,121 members as of August 31, according to the National Corn Growers Association official count. Leadership of the grassroots farmer organization has set ambitious goals to continue and accelerate that trend

“That’s a nearly five percent increase, and that’s very healthy growth for a grassroots organization like Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA),” said John Mages, a corn and soybean producer in Stearns County who just began serving his term as president of MCGA. Mages said, “But Iowa shot ahead of us again and they grew nearly ten percent. We’re setting a goal to catch and pass Iowa, and I know we can do it with all the active recruiters we have.”

Iowa reached 6,860 members at the end of August, compared to 6,121 for Minnesota. The latest recruiting report from NCGA noted three hall of fame level recruiters in Minnesota: Doug Toreen, Myron “Mickey” Peterson, and Richard Peterson. Three top Minnesota recruiters also received mention: Connie Mulder, Robert Nelsen and Lori Feltis.

“When we grow membership we gain in the kind of attention we can get for farmers and our issues in Saint Paul and Washington,” said Mages, who took a break from harvesting soybeans on Monday to talk briefly about membership. “One of the ways I would like to pursue increasing our membership is to build the organization’s representation in central Minnesota. Here in Stearns County, for instance, we have about a hundred MCGA members, but there are about 1,500 corn producers in the county. Now, especially, that more farmers are switching from dairy or livestock into raising grain exclusively, it’s important to join in, so we can all be heard with the lawmakers.”

Mages noted that farmers can use check-off funds to pay the cost of the membership.

“We make it as easy as possible to become a member,” noted MCGA membership chairman Gerald Mulder. “And we find that a lot of folks have thought about it–a little encouragement is all it takes. So we want to encourage our members to think about recruiting. Sometimes all it takes is an invitation. Many farmers already know about all that Minnesota’s corn organizations do for all of us, representing us on the important issues, like regulations, water issues, ethanol. When you make an invitation and remind prospective members of MCGA’s work on these issues, they’re ready to join.”

Mulder encouraged members who would like to sharpen their recruiting skills to consider the NCGA Recruiting Symposium, being held February 6-8 in Kissimmee, FL.

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