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2020 Iowa Corn Director Elections

The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) is comprised of 12 peer-elected farmers and two industry liaisons that serve as the collective voice for 8,000 corn farmer members, lobbying on agricultural issues at the state and federal level. Elections are held each year to select leadership and representatives from each of the nine crop reporting districts in the state.

The Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) is comprised of 12 peer-elected farmers and four ex officios who invest funds collected through the Iowa corn checkoff program, with a focus on market development, education and research. Elections are held each year to select leadership and representatives from each of the nine crop reporting districts in the state. Below is election information for 2020, each candidates bio will be added soon.

 

IOwa Corn Growers Association: Crop Reporting Districts 3, 4, 6, 9

Those elected as ICGA Directors will continue to bring grassroots policy issues forward and be the collective voice for the nearly 8,000 corn farmer-members, lobbying on agricultural issues at the state and federal level. Below are the farmer leaders running for the 2020-2021 board.

 

District 3

Mark Mueller

Mark Mueller has been farming for 25 years in Bremer County producing no-till corn, soybeans, alfalfa, specialty beans, forage rye and corn for silage.

He is a fourth-generation farmer and serves as the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) Director representing District 3 and is the chair of the Exports & The Grain Trade Committee as well as the chair of the PAC Committee. He also is the current chair of the U.S. Grains Council’s Western Hemisphere Committee, overseeing issues affecting the sales and movement of corn, sorghum and barley in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean. In 2014, Mueller was one of the first 20 participants in the Soil Health Partnership, a 10-year National Corn Growers Association study to calculate the economic benefits of cover crops.

Mueller earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Ag-Business and Agronomy from Iowa State University. He is a graduate of the leadership development programs of both Iowa Corn (I-LEAD class II) and the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (Leadership Iowa ‘98).  Before farming, Mueller worked in research, production and sales in the seed industry.

Past positions include serving as chair of the Bremer County Planning and Zoning Commission, president of the Bremer County Corn & Soybean Growers Association, president of the Northeast Iowa Agricultural Experimental Association and representing ICGA on the board of the Iowa Nutrient Research and Education Council (INREC). Mark has written articles for Top Producer, Progressive Farmer and other publications.

Mueller and his wife, Jeri, have two daughters, Kate and Sarah.

Brad Brownell

Brad Brownell has been farming in Fyette County for 30 years. Brownell’s son, Kollin, also helps him on the operation. They raise corn, soybeans, grass hay and a few beef cattle. He also works part time driving a truck that mainly transports milk or pulls a hopper bottom.

Brownell is currently a member of the Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Cattleman’s Association, Iowa Corn Growers as well as a former board member for his local cooperative. He is also on the Northeast Iowa Farm Business Association Board and has served on the county Dairy Promotion Committee and DHIA Board.

In the past he has been a 4-H leader along with serving on the County Youth Committee and now serves on the County Assessor Examining Board.

Corn usage for ethanol and water quality would be important areas of advocacy for Brownell on behalf of Iowa Corn farmers.

Brad and his wife Kristi have two children, Kollin and Jalyn.

District 4

Jolene Riessen 

Jolene Riessen along with her two sons, Cory and Lee, farm in Ida and Sac counties in Northwest Iowa. Their operation consists of corn, soybeans, alfalfa and cattle.

Jolene represents District 4 on the Iowa Corn Growers Association Board and she is the Vice Chair of the Industrial Usage and Production Committee. She is very active in the agriculture industry and has had the opportunity to work in different ag related jobs that have complimented her farm roots.

Jolene currently serves as an Ida County District Soil Commissioner and is President of the Sac/Ida Corn Growers Association.  She has served on the Animal, Ag and Environment Committee for Iowa Corn and is a vocal advocate for what farmers are doing to help improve water quality. Her commitment to the ag sector continues through her memberships to the Ida County Cattlemen, Ida County Farm Bureau, Iowa Soybean Association DAC, served on the Ida County 4-H Extension Council and coached the OABCIG FFA crop scouting group. She is also a member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Ethanol, livestock and water quality are and will continue to be important areas of advocacy for Jolene on behalf of Iowa Corn farmers.

Barb Kastner

Barb Kastner, a farmer from Guthrie County, has been farming for 44 years.  Alongside her husband and son, she grows corn and soybeans.  She is proud of the conservation and water quality efforts they have taken including using buffer strips and terraces on their farm.   She has also worked for Farm Credit Services of America for 44 years.    

Kastner has filled many roles, including Guthrie County Iowa Corn director, Guthrie County Farm Bureau director, she is in the Farm Bureau 2020 Ag Leader Institute and participates on the Usage and Production Committee with Iowa Corn.  She is also a member of the YJB TTT sorority, a nonprofit philanthropic organization. 

The ethanol industry interests Kastner as she would like to study the impact of electric vehicles and how they would and could change the need for ethanol.  She enjoys working with and for farmers.  Because she has sold crop insurance for the past 18 years, she knows what its like helping farmers make their risk management decisions giving her an inside look on all aspects of the industry.  

Barb and her husband John have two kids, Katie and Cale.

District 6

Spencer Hicks

Spencer Hicks has been farming for 3 years in Scott County.  He produces corn, beans and hay as well as raises cattle and chickens.  Off the farm he owns and operates an ag based company with a powerful community connection he is proud of.   He has also had past industry experience as he worked for a local co-op, John Deere Dealership and in the seed industry.

Hicks has been involved in ag his whole life and truly believes in its positive values it adds to any family involved.  He grew up helping out on his family dairy farm and was active in his local 4-H and FFA organizations.  Currently he is active in the Iowa Corn Growers Association as well as Farm Bureau and the Cattleman’s Association.  He is also involved in his community as a football coach for North Scott Highschool and a volunteer fireman. 

Seeing the industry continue to grow is important to Hicks.  He believes agriculture education and conservation are two things that can never be overdone.  If elected he hopes this position would give him the opportunity to reach out and get more young families involved in agriculture and show them how possible it is to get a farm started and running.

Spencer and his wife Emma have three kids.  Peyton, Kahler and Hugo are all involved on the family farm.

Logan Lyon

Logan Lyon is a farmer from Muscatine County where he grows corn and soybeans. Lyon and his wife Emily have also been developing their cow calf herd since 2015 when they started with just 2 cows.  His goal is to continue to diversify his family farming operation to best capture changes in the market.

Lyon grew up helping on his family farm in Southeast Iowa and has continued to expand his knowledge of agriculture through different careers and agriculture groups.  In college he was a member of the first Iowa Corn Growers Collegiate Advisory Team and a National President for the Professional Agriculture Student Organization.  Currently he is very involved in his community.  He is a board member for Scott County Farm Bureau and also participated in an international mission to South America as a member of the Iowa Corn Growers Association I-Lead Class 9.  Lyon is also active with the St. Andrews Catholic Church and the City of Muscatine Community Outreach Program.    

He is an active member of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association member, Scott County Ag-in-the-classroom volunteer, Scott County 4-H volunteer, Agribusiness Association of Iowa member and various Co-op and Ag supplier memberships as well.  

Lyon believes farmers take a lot of pride in growing a product that is renewable and can even replace many petroleum-base items.  If elected he would help the ICGA continue to pursue the diverse use for corn in more marketplaces.  He is also passionate about trade, ethanol and livestock feeds.

Logan and his wife Emily have two small children, Lambert and Lucy.     

District 9 

Chandra Edwards 

Chandra Edwards has been farming for 11 years in Louisa County with her husband, Wade. On their farm they grow corn and soybeans as well as raises hogs.  Wade and Chandra also help out with his parents purebred Angus cattle herd. Off the farm she is the Director of Operations at Outward Ag which allows her to work closely with growers as well as the production side of seed.  

Currently Edwards is a Clover Kid Co-leader and active member of the Lousia County Cattlemen’s.  She is involved with the Faith Lutheran Church in Mt Pleasant as a Vacation Bible School Leader and Roundy Elementary PTO as the Holiday Shop Co-Chair.  She is also proud to have been the Iowa Pork Queen in 1995 and enjoyed working with the Pork Producers.  

Edwards has always had a love for agriculture.  It is an industry she was born and raised in on a family farm in Boone County, IA.  She was very active in her local 4-H and FFA channels and has spent her entire career working in the agriculture industry.  Her goal has always been to be a positive voice in agriculture and if elected she hopes to help improve and create marketing channels, trade opportunities and consumer education. 

Chandra and Wade have two kids Alanna and Cora who are involved on the family farm.

Dan Keitzer 

Dan Keitzer, from Des Moines County, has been farming for 37 years. With his son, they raise both corn and soybeans as well as custom feed hogs. They are proud to utilize the no-till practice on their row-crop operation and are continuously building structures to minimize soil erosion on their farm. He has also partnered with a major seed company to do on-farm seed development research for over 30 years now.

Currently he serves on the Iowa Corn Industrial Usage & U.S. Production Committee and on the Southeast Iowa Research Farm Board. He has been a member of the County Extension Committee, 4-H and Youth Committee and treasurer of the Des Moines County Fair. He has also served on the county Pork Producers Board in many leadership roles.

Keitzer is very active in his local church and has served as the treasure for 29 years. He has also served as the chairman for the local Building Committee for several building renovation projects.

Keitzer feels ICGA is extremely important in leading the development of continued promotion of export, ethanol and new corn uses. He is passionate about looking for new demand enhancing uses of corn and wants to promote the check-off to allow farmers to partner with other entities to develop products to enhance demand. Keitzer believes ethanol has done wonders for the corn industry but also knows more efficient autos and electric vehicles will make it hard to keep the demand growing in the future. Because of this he is ready to help find new corn demand alternatives.

Dan and his wife Jan, have two kids. Both Kendra and Keaton are involved in agriculture.

 

Iowa Corn Promotion Board: Crop Reporting Districts 1, 3, 6 

Since 1978, Iowa corn farmers have elected their peers to serve on the ICPB to oversee the investment of funds generated by the Iowa corn checkoff. ICPB Directors will continue to promote a thriving Iowa corn industry through research into new and value-added corn uses, domestic and foreign market development and providing education about corn and corn products. Below are the farmer leaders running for the 2020-2021 board.

District 1

Chad Harms 

Chad Harms has been farming for 25 years in Obrien county where he raises corn and soybeans.  Harms also started a trucking business that hauls seed, grain and feed ingredients covering a four-state area and was a former seed salesman for Dekalb and Asgrow. 

Currently harms is the district 1 director for the Iowa Corn Growers Association.  He has been on the Board of Directors for Siouxland Energy of Sioux Center, Iowa (3 years), ALCECO in Albert City, Iowa (12 years) and Ag Partners in Albert City, Iowa (9 years).  He has also been involved in the Iowa Soybean Growers, Minnesota Soybean Processors and Little Sioux Corn Processers.  Community involvement is important to Harms as he has been a part of the Finance Council for St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and involved with the Okoboji Pioneer Booster Club.     

Harms is seeking election to the Iowa Corn Promotion Board to help support the future of sustainable growth and lead the way for youth interested in agriculture.  He believes it is even more important for his involvement in agriculture as he sees his kids enter the industry.  He hopes to use his past experience on an ethanol board and current experience on the elevator board to help guide his peers in making well-rounded decisions in those specific areas.  

Chad and his wife Jill have two kids, Alli and Austin.  Both children are involved in the family farm.

John Schott

John Schott is a grain farmer from Pocahontas County who has been growing corn and soybeans for 47 years.  He has also operated a seed dealership for 30 years where he enjoys the opportunity to work with people in the industry and help his farmer customers make seed decisions. 

Schott has always had an interest in the ethanol Industry and believes it is a viable and important market for farmers.  He would like to be involved in helping defend the industry as it has proven its worth and push it to capture higher markets.  He is also excited for the opportunity to promote and find new markets for Iowa field corn.

Community involvement is important to Schott.  He has been involved in the Pocahontas Count Corn and Soybean board for over 25 years and is currently on the State UP Committee.  He is also a member of Farm Bureau, Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Cattleman’s Association.  John also enjoyed announcing the Pocahontas Baseball games for 7 years and being a member of the Resurrection Church in Pocahontas.   

John and his wife Jane have three successful kids, Traci, Jarrod and Jeana.

District 3

Jason Orr

Jason Orr, a farmer from Bachanan County, has been farming all his life.  Alongside his father, they grow waxy corn, some hay and raise a small cow herd.  Recently the family farm has added over a thousand acres of rye cover crop.  In the past he has worked at a Monsanto seed plant and at a small foundry where he made prototype castings for John Deere and Caterpillar.  He also has experience in the livestock industry as he managed three 2,400 head hog confinements for 7 years.

Orr has served on the Buchanan County Corn and Soybean Association Board for almost 10 years and has served on the past Bachanan County Pork Producers Board for 3 years.  He was also awarded the Iowa Farm Environmental Leadership Award by Governor Reynolds in 2019.

If elected he would like to better learn what check-off dollars are being used for and help educate his peer growers of that information.  Orr believes the family farm and the men and women who operate them are the backbone of this great state and his goal is to do all he can to keep it that way for many generations to come.  His passion is to be a promoter of the Iowa farmer and knows this board position will help him do that.

Jason and his wife Megan have 3 kids.  Jarret, Kaydence and Jaxtin all help out on the family farm.      

Derek Taylor

Derek Taylor, alongside his father, has been farming from 8 years in Winneshiek county.  On their operation they grow corn, soybeans, alfalfa and raise cattle.  They are working together to be proactive with modern conservation practices.  Taylor also owns and operates an ag consulting business called Hard Rock Ag.   

Taylor has served as an Iowa Corn Promotion Board Director as well as been involved in the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Winneshiek County Soil & Water Committee.  He is also active in his community by being a South Winneshiek Basketball Coach, a part of the School Finance Committee and Holy Name Church Council. 

After graduating college Taylor spent several years in Wisconsin, working in multiple agri-businesses and working for a couple different farmers giving him what he believes to be a unique perspective on agriculture.  He is passionate about using check-off dollars to bring maximum value back to the Iowa corn farmer and also finding new ways to reach members more effectively to communicate the positive work Iowa Corn does to help farms be successful.     

Derek and his wife, Amy, have two children Evan and Owen.  Both boys are involved on the farm. 

District 6

Pete Brecht

Pete Brecht, a third-generation farmer, has been farming for 40 years in Linn County. On the family farm, he raises corn and soybeans with his brother and son.

Brecht currently serves as an Iowa Corn Promotion Board Director representing District 6 and serves as chair of the Iowa Corn Research & Business Development Committee. He also serves as a member of the US Grain Council action team.

He is a member of the Linn County Corn Growers, Linn County Soybean Association, Linn County Cattlemen’s Association and National Corn Growers Association. He is also a member of the National Federation of Independent Businessmen and the Linn County Farm Bureau. 

Brecht is actively involved in his community through volunteering at the Linn County Fair and is the Music Director for St. Stephen’s Parish in Central City.   He is a past director of the Central City Community School Board and has served on the St. Stephen’s parish council and finance council.

Pete and his wife Diane, have three children and enjoy providing as many opportunities for his nine grandchildren to learn about agriculture and the family farm.

Daron Oberbroeckling

Daron Oberbroeckling, a grain farmer from Scott County, has been farming for 28 years.  His mostly no-till operation consists of 400 acres of corn and soybeans. Oberbroeckling also currently works for Ohnward Insurance selling crop and farm insurance along with other lines of insurance. 

Oberbroeckling is currently serving as the Scott County Corn Growers Board treasurer and is a past Board of Directors member of Farm Bureau.  He is actively involved in organizations such as Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, and National Corn Growers Association.  He is also involved in his community and was a former president of the local high school athletic booster club.     

Soil conservation is important to Daron, as he has found success in no-till and has adopted it as his primary practice.  He feels conservation and demand for corn product are two important issues he is passionate about.   

Daron and his wife Tracey have two kids, Chelsie and Kyle.     

 

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