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Friday, July 18, 2014

Kentucky Corn Families Invade DC in More Ways Than One

A delegation of Kentucky corn farm family leaders made their rounds in Washington DC this week as the National Corn Growers Association held their bi-annual Corn Congress. While attending this meeting that shapes policy decisions for NCGA, the Kentucky delegation met with Kentucky's elected officials and their staff to discuss several critical issues: WOTUS, RFS, and GMO labeling among others.

From left to right: Adam and Megan Bell, KyCorn President Russel Schwenke and his wife Laura, KyCorn Executive Director Laura Knoth, Rene Kuegel with KyCorn Treasurer Mark Roberts, KyCorn Promotion Council Chairman Philip McCoun and KyCorn Board Member Michael Buckman.

The inaugural class of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) DuPont New Leaders Program also wrapped up last week in Washington, D.C. Adam and Megan Bell, of Mayfield, represented KyCorn in the program, which kicked off in Johnston, Iowa, in January. It was designed by NCGA and DuPont to build the communications and leadership skills of growers just starting leadership positions in American agriculture, with a special focus on farming couples. The Bells were able to attend NCGA action team meetings, Corn Congress, and made Capitol Hill visits with KyCorn leaders.

Adam and Megan Bell (right) completed the inaugural class of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program. Pictured with NCGA Chairman Pam Johnson, First Vice President Chip Bowling and a DuPont representative.

Also this month, another farm family, Quint and Leah Pottinger, have been seen across the Beltway in a number of political media publications and web sites. The Corn Farmers Coalition education program has returned to the U.S. capital this summer for the sixth year in a row with a message of innovation, efficiency and productivity.

The Pottingers (top middle photo), from New Haven, Ky. are one of six farm families representing corn farmers across the United States who will be featured in digital, print, and Metro Stations ads through September.

The goal of the campaign is to communicate a foundation of facts seen as essential to decision making, rather than directly influencing legislation and regulation.

"This direct outreach is putting a face on today's family farmers and raising overall awareness with legislators, leaders or governmental agencies from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Department of State, think tanks, lobbyists and environmental groups," said Martin Barbre, National Corn Growers Association president and a family farmer from Carmi, Illinois. "Awareness of the innovation, technology, and generations of accumulated knowledge on our farms today should be a part of our national dialogue about agriculture."

"As urban and suburban America gets further removed from the agricultural roots that made our nation strong, it becomes ever more important to reach out and maintain this connection," said Quint Pottinger. "Farming is something that we love. The dirt doesn't just stain our hands; it runs deep in our blood. We want to share our affinity for farming with our friends, neighbors, and community."

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