Minnesota growers headed south for Commodity Classic

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

A full delegation of Minnesota corn grower leaders headed south to Nashville this week for the 2012 Commodity Classic–the annual convention and trade show of National Corn Growers Association and a number of other farm groups.

Belgrade, MN farmer John Mages leads a delegation of a score of farmers who will participate in the annual NCGA resolutions meeting.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the leaders from other states and exchanging views about Farm Bill and the other issues at the top of the agenda,” said Mages. “But Commodity Classic is also a great farm show, and our families are coming down.”

The three-day convention officially opened Thursday, but growers headed down Tuesday to get to pre-convention meetings.

“This will be my fifth year going to Commodity Classic,” said Mages. “We go through the national resolutions, and we bring forward our resolutions from the grassroots membership here in Minnesota. We’ll have things on water quality, on the farm bill, child labor–things that impact our farmers.”

Proposed changes in child labor laws may make it difficult or impossible for children to fulfill traditional roles on the farm.

“We think having children helping out on the farm has always been beneficial,” said Mages. “This has been the way to teach kids not only about how to farm, but also to help them develop the right priorities and a good work ethic.”

The resolutions around the farm bill will likely encourage congress to pass a farm bill this year or as soon as possible. Though the commodity farm program was alone among federal budget areas in producing a savings — $18 billion over the past five years–it’s likely that the farm program will be asked to give up more. A Farm Bill presented to the “Super Committee” last fall offers $23 billion in savings over the next ten years and yet maintains the necessary safety net, Mages said. The “Super Committee” was a bipartisan congressional task force mandated to find more than a trillion dollars in cuts to the federal budget.

A number of recently elected board members will take part in Commodity Classic, according to Mages.

“It’s a good opportunity for Minnesota leaders, especially those new to the board, to see how the resolutions process works and to meet the candidates for the national board,” said Mages. “These are the folks we then vote on at Corn Congress–the national meeting in Washington in July.”


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