Michigan Corn Growers Association celebrates golden anniversary
In the early ’70s, corn farmers unified to create a larger voice in Michigan.
Michigan Corn Growers Assocation executive director Jim Zook tells Brownfield in 1972 corn prices were around $1.30 per bushel and farmers wanted better representation on legislative issues.
“It was by some guys that wanted to make sure we had an impact, we were standing up and we were promoting the industry,” he shares. “It was a grassroots effort.”
Those actions also led to now what is the corn checkoff program which assesses farmers a small portion of what they sell to invest in research, education, and marketing. They’ve also helped create the ethanol industry we know today, enhance yields, and advance the industry.
“We have some similar challenges as we did back in the ‘70s but I think they’ve compounded a little bit more because we actually have less wholesalers and less chemistry people in the market so any small glitch gets compounded significantly,” he says.
Zook says farming has continued to become more political and the association remains committed to giving farmers a voice in discussions with lawmakers.
The organization is celebrating its 50th anniversary at this week’s Great Lakes Crop Summit.