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Associate Editor for High Plains Journal.

Commodity group presidents featured at General Session

Presidents of the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and the National Sorghum Producers had a frank discussion with moderator of the General Session Mark Mayfield about the sustainability of each of their commodities.

Danny Murphy, president of the ASA said his organization has implemented protocols for sustainability. The development of the protocols came partly from consumer requests to do so. He believes that most U.S. soybeans are produced sustainably.

“Family farms are a key component for sustainability,” Murphy said. “And most are multi-generational and have to make sure their decisions are for today and the future.”

Pam Johnson, president of the National Corn Growers Association said corn continues to thrive because of continuous improvements on the farm and the way corn is grown. Farmers are better able to produce more grain with less inputs and take full advantage of a corn plant that can maximize water, nutrients and sunlight.

“We have to leave the land in better shape for the future,” Johnson said. “We have a great story to tell and don’t have a lot of people out there telling our story.”

“We have a great story to tell, but sadly we don’t have that many farmers out there telling their story,” she replied. “This is hurting us in D.C. with our policymakers and in our dialogue with consumers, who want to know who we are, what we do and that their food is safe.”

Johnson called upon not only Commodity Classic attendees, but also on Americans across the country, to act now.

“If there is anything I can leave today with the audience, it is a call to action,” said Johnson. “Everyone out there as an American and as a farmer needs to call their representatives in Congress.  They need to say that we are mad as hell. We are sick of people pointing fingers and assigning blame. We aren’t going to accept it anymore. You have to act responsibly, and you have to act now.”

The youngest president on the panel, NAWG President Erik Younggren reiterated the fact farmers have to tell their story. We are doing more and more with less and less, he said. Using social media tools to tell the story of agriculture, is easier now more than ever.

Younggren stressed the versatility of wheat, and said there are six different classes each with their own use.

National Sorghum Producers President Terry Swanson believes coming from stress has given him a lot of advantages, and in turn has made conservation easier.

“We’ve changed from survivable to sustainable,” Swanson said. “Sorghum actually saves water and is able to adapt to heat stress.”

In his own operation Swanson sees sorghum as profitable and it works for his crop rotation, as well as a commitment to conserve resources.

Commodity presidents from the National Sorghum Producers, American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association and the National Association of Wheat growers participated in a roundtable discussion at the General Session during Commodity Classic March 1. Pictured left to right are: Moderator Mark Mayfield, NSP President Terry Swanson, ASA President Danny Murphy, NCGA President Pam Johnson, and NAWG President Erik Younggren. (Journal photo by Jennifer M. Latzke.)

Commodity presidents from the National Sorghum Producers, American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association and the National Association of Wheat Growers participated in a roundtable discussion at the General Session during Commodity Classic March 1. Pictured left to right are: Moderator Mark Mayfield, NSP President Terry Swanson, ASA President Danny Murphy, NCGA President Pam Johnson, and NAWG President Erik Younggren. (Journal photo by Jennifer M. Latzke.)

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