From The Editor
Dec. 30, 2011
Hello Pro Farmer Members!
Happy New Year!
We really enjoyed putting together this week's newsletter. The look back at a turbulent year around the world and in agriculture really helps to put things in perspective! But this blog post is all about celebration! We selected our 2011 Ag Person of the Year and even had a "Special Mention" for strong contender in our selection process.
Here's what we said about these two excellent representatives of agriculture in this week's newsletter:
Long climb for 2011 Pro Farmer Ag Person of the Year
Sometimes it’s a single event that propels a person to our selection of Ag Person of the Year; for others it’s a long climb of achievement, contribution and leadership that makes them the obvious choice. This year’s Pro Farmer Ag Person of the Year has made the long climb.
Darrin Ihnen, Hurley, South Dakota
We first got to know Darrin years ago — just as he was starting his long climb up the ranks of the South Dakota and National Corn Growers Associations. He showed up at the orientation meeting for the western leg of the Midwest Crop Tour in Sioux Falls to learn more about the Tour and to welcome his fellow Pro Farmer Members to South Dakota. It’s tough to recall the date, but it was shortly after we started the western Tour, which would put that first meeting in 1999 or 2000. At that time, Darrin was raising corn, soybeans, wheat, cattle and hogs on his family farm in Hurley... and that’s what he’s still doing today.
Along the way Darrin has worked tirelessly to promote U.S. grain consumption and to promote U.S. agriculture in general. The groundwork for the ethanol facility in Chancellor, S. Dakota, was laid by Darrin; he has led the state’s Corn Growers Association; and he is a Past President of the National Corn Growers Association. That’s all very impressive, but why does he get the person-of-the-year nod in 2011?
Ahead of our 2011 Midwest Crop Tour, U.S. Feed Grains Council CEO Tom Dorr asked Pro Farmer to host a group of agri-professionals from China for a day on the Tour. With our time committed exclusively to the Tour, we asked Darrin to step in to represent Pro Farmer and our Members as host to this Chinese delegation. He readily accepted because it was an important job that needed to be done. And that’s what Darrin has been doing for more than a decade as a farm leader at the state and national levels. After serving a year as NCGA Chairman, he’s now back working at the state level as a member of the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council.
American agriculture is in the middle of its most profitable time in a glorious (and sometimes conflicted) history. No one person or process can take credit for ag’s current success, but Darrin’s fingers have touched many pieces of this complicated puzzle. In our opinion, he’s the example to follow for promoting farming in the U.S. and to advance U.S. agriculture around the world.
All that, and Darrin is still "just" an ethanol-supporting, livestock-producing, grain-and-soybean-growing Pro Farmer Member from Hurley, South Dakota. Congratulations, Darrin, on being named the 2011 Pro Farmer Ag Person of the Year.
This PF Member nearly caught the ‘single-event’ wave —
Immediately following the 2011 Midwest Crop Tour, President Obama roadtripped through the Midwest. At a stop in Atkinson, Illinois, he ran into Pro Farmer Member Rock Katschnig. After lecturing voters in attendance about the "evils of politics" and the need for "shared sacrifice," Obama asked for questions. Just like at many Pro Farmer seminars, Rock was first up. Only it wasn’t a question... it was a request: "Please don’t challenge us with more rules and regulations from Washington, D.C., that hinder us."
Rock is a smart, fun-loving, hard-working, God-fearing, family-loving Illinois farmer and PF Member... and he had no idea what fire he had just sparked. Columnists around the nation said Rock "spoke for millions of small business owners" with that request. And President Obama’s you-don’t-know-what-you’re-talking-about response to Rock helped accelerate a government-wide review of rules and regulations. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) asked Rock to help represent "job-creators" at President Obama’s Sept. 8 address to a joint session of Congress. Well done, Rock!
That's it for this week...I wish you all a happy, blessed and prosperous 2012! It's a special year at Pro Farmer as we celebrate our 40th Anniversary of serving the Members of Professional Farmers of America!