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2022 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 7,500 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. 

 

IOwa Corn Growers Association: Crop Reporting Districts 1, 4, 6 AND 8

Those elected as ICGA Directors will continue to bring grassroots policy issues forward and be the collective voice for the nearly 7,500 corn farmer-members, lobbying on agricultural issues at the state and federal level. Below are the farmer leaders running for the 2022-2023 board.

 

District 1

John Schott has farmed in Pocahontas County for 48 years raising corn and soybeans. He has worked as a seed corn dealer for 32 years and is a cooperator with the Iowa Crop Improvement Corn Testing. Through one capacity or another, Schott has been involved with the Iowa Corn Growers Association for over 20 years and looks forward to taking the next step.

He is an active member of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and Iowa Farm Bureau. Schott has served as the President of Pocahontas County Corn Growers, former member of the Dekalb Star Dealer Council, former Township Trustee and member of the Iowa Corn Industrial Usage & Production Committee. He also was involved in the local Catholic school board, church council, helps with ministries within his church and worked with youth programs within his community.

Schott has a strong passion for ethanol and protecting its place in the energy package in the U.S. and is an advocate for corn usage in general including domestic consumption through industrial usage, feed usage and healthy exports.

Schott and his wife Jane have three children, Traci, Jeana and Jarrod.

 

Mike Ver Steeg has farmed in Lyon County for 28 years. He produces corn and soybeans and raises hogs. On his farm they implement strip-till, no-till and cover crops. They also have a feedmill where they mix all their own feed for pigs and he is an owner in Wholestone Farms, a pork harvesting facility, and Greenstone, a farmer owned company to capture value in the carbon market.

He has served on the American Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee, as an Iowa Farm Bureau Delegate to American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting, on the American Farm Bureau Livestock Committee and currently is on the National Pork Producers Association Environmental Committee. He has completed the American Farm Bureau PAL class and National Pork Producers Pork Leadership Institute. He was also recognized as an Iowa Pork Producers Pork All-American and Master Pork Producer and winner of Iowa Farm Bureau Achievement Award. Ver Steeg is an active member in the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Lyon County Farm Bureau, Lyon County Pork Producers, National Federation of Independent Business, New Life Church and has served as the West Lyon FFA Booster Club President, West Lyon Band Treasurer and as the Inwood Kiwanis President.

Ver Steeg has always been interested in the policy side of agriculture and believes he can use the training he has received from other farm organizations to promote policies that benefit Iowa corn growers. Ver Steeg wants to work to find ways for producers who have been long-time no-tillers or users of cover crops, to participate in carbon markets and find ways to be less dependent on foreign fertilizer and crop protection products. He also wants to continue to expand the use of corn for livestock farmers by expanding markets for pork and other livestock.

Ver Steeg and his wife Sarah have three children, Cody (fiancée Kaylee) who farms with them, Evan (Grace) who is studying his Masters in Divinity and works part-time at a church, and Ella who will graduate high school in May and attend North Central University for American Sign Language.

 

District 4

Barb Kastner has been farming in Guthrie County for 46 years, raising corn and soybeans. Growing up farming and working with agriculture for her whole live, Kastner sees herself as an advocate for the industry and believes it would be an honor to represent corn farmers.

She worked for Farm Credit Services of America for 43 years, working as head of accounting for 25 and selling crop insurance to farmers for 18 years. When not at her full-time job, Kastner takes on an active role on the farm alongside her husband and son, including doing all the record keeping for the farming operation.

Kastner serves on the Guthrie County Corn Board, Guthrie County Farm Bureau Board, Iowa Corn Usage and Production Committee and the National Corn Growers Association Risk Management and Transportation Action Team. She has participated in the Iowa Farm Bureau’s Ag Leader Program in 2020 and is currently on the Iowa Corn’s I-LEAD Class 10.  She also belongs to TTT which helps to send young girls to camp each year.

She has a passion for ethanol and promotes it as often as she can to legislators. Being on the NCGA’s Risk Management and Transportation Action Team she also wants to make sure that farmer’s crop insurance program is protected in Washington, D.C.

Kastner and her husband John have two children, Katie and Cale.

 

Mike Thomas has farmed for 38 years in Guthrie County. On their farm they are currently produce both non-GMO and organic crops including white corn, beans, hay, barley, wheat and organic corn, beans and barley. They also raise cattle and hogs. On their farm they practice conservation through cover crops, waterway management and grow seed beans.

Thomas was a member of the Iowa Corn I-LEAD Class 9 and is the current treasurer for Guthrie County Corn Growers. He also serves as the current director for Guthrie County Cattlemen, on the Iowa Corn Grassroots Committee and as past Vice President of Guthrie County Extension Board. He is also active in the Masonic Lodge, Orange Lodge 123 and was the past president for Guthrie Center United Methodist Church Board.

He is passionate about best conservation practices, input cost management, international market impacts on family farms and helping young farmers to get started and stay in farming. As a fifth-generation farmer, raising the sixth-generation, Thomas wants to make sure that family farms have the right tools, technology and support to continue to grow and succeed.

Thomas and his wife have two kids, Jake and Ty who both farm with them.

 

District 6

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.  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 getting involved in different agriculture groups. In college, he was a member of the first Iowa Corn Growers Collegiate Advisory Team (CAT) and a National President for the Professional Agriculture Student Organization. Lyon is very involved as a board member for Scott County Farm Bureau and participated as a member of the Iowa Corn Growers Association I-LEAD Class 9. Currently, he serves as the Iowa Corn Growers Association Director representing District 6 and is the Vice-Chair of the Grassroots Committee.

He is an active member of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Scott County Ag-in-the-classroom volunteer, Scott County 4-H volunteer, St. Andrews Catholic Church and holds various co-op and ag supplier memberships as well. Lyon’s day job is an Ag Risk Manager and Crop Insurance Agent in Southeast Iowa.

Lyon believes farmers take a lot of pride in growing a product that is renewable and can even replace many petroleum-based items.  He will continue to work with the Iowa Corn Growers Association to pursue the diverse use for corn in more marketplaces.  He is also passionate about trade, ethanol and livestock feeds.

Lyon and his wife Emily have two young children, Lambert and Lucy.

 

Erinn Spevacek has been farming in Johnson County for 10 years producing corn and soybeans, as well as finishing cattle and running a cow-calf operation. On their operation they actively implement no-till and cover crop practices, which they use for grazing cattle.

Spevacek grew up in a small farming community in West Central Illinois and got actively involved with farming when she met her husband Travis and started farming. When they decided to add more cattle to their operation, she moved into full time role on their farm and took on cattle management. She finds farming side by side with her husband and son extremely rewarding, where they split a lot of the job duties to make it a true husband, wife and son operation.

She is an active member in the Johnson County Farm Bureau, Johnson County Graham Champions 4-H, serves as a board member for the Tri-County Corn Growers and volunteers for numerous local 4-H and Iowa Farm Bureau events.

Spevacek is passionate about being a voice and advocate for agriculture and wants to help bridge the gap between consumers and farmers. She also believed farm safety regarding drivers and ag equipment and food security remain a top priority.

Spevacek farms along with her husband Travis and son Garrett.

 

District 8

Brian Fuller has farmed in Clarke County for 40 years raising corn, soybeans, hay and 180 head of cow/calf pairs.  He has been involved in farming and agriculture his entire life on his family’s farm with his grandfather, parents and now his own family.

Fuller is active in Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Farm Bureau, Clarke County Cattlemen and Lacelle Methodist Church. He serves as a Director for the United Farmers’ Cooperative, Iowa Corn District 8 President and on the Iowa Corn Animal Ag and Environment Committee.

He is passionate about promoting new and innovative uses for corn and wants to continue to work to help strengthen the use of biofuels in Iowa and nationally

Fuller and his wife Bobbie, have two kids Jacob and Katie who are involved in the family farm, along with Katie’s husband Ethan and daughter Addie.

 

Steve Kuiper has been farming for over 30 years growing corn and soybeans on his family’s farm in Marion County. He worked in manufacturing at Vermeer for 30 years before farming full-time.

He has invested in a local ethanol plant and participates in a local growers’ group who develops specialty markets and agricultural investments. He also serves on the board of the Marion County Farm Bureau.

Kuiper currently serves as the Iowa Corn Growers Association Director representing District 8 and has served on the Iowa Corn Exports & Grain Trade Committee as well as the Grassroots Committee. He continues to work to help develop new markets for corn and corn products, support the growth of Iowa’s ethanol industry and reduce burdensome regulations for agribusiness.

Kuiper enjoys farming and spending time with his wife, Melinda, their children and grandchildren.

 


Iowa Corn Promotion Board: Crop Reporting Districts 2, 5, 7 and 9 

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 2022-2023 board.

District 2

Jerry Maier farms near Eagle Grove where he raises corn and soybeans. He is a graduate of ISU with a degree in farm operations and has been actively involved in the Wright County Corn Growers Association for nearly 38 years. 

Currently serving as the Iowa Corn Promotion Board Director representing District 2, he also served a term as the Iowa Corn Growers Association District 2 Director. Maier is the Iowa Corn Usage and Production Committee Chair, is a member of the U.S. Grains Council Innovation and Sustainability team, NCGA Food, Feed and Industrial Action team and is a director representing Iowa Corn on the America’s Cultivation Corridor Board. Maier believes it is important to be involved and work together to increase markets and promote research for new uses for the corn we grow. Locally, he has previously served as Chairman of the Wright County Board of Adjustment and Co-Chair of the City of Eagle Grove Planning and Zoning Board.  In the past, he has also served as president of his church council, the Eagle Grove Community Development Commission and the local Jaycees Chapter.

He and his wife Susan have two sons, Brandon and Brett.  Both are graduates of ISU and are involved in Iowa Corn. 

 

Joe Roberts farms in Wright County raising corn and soybeans. He has been actively farming with his dad and grandpa as the third generation on their family farm since he was old enough to drive the tractor. They implement various conservation practices from strip till on the corn acres, no-till beans, as well as cover crops, pollinator habitats and other CRP practices.

He is a 2019 graduate of Iowa State University studying Agricultural Business, Agronomy and Seed Science and currently works as a Beck’s Seed Dealer. During college he was on the Collegiate Advisory Team and served as the president of the Iowa State Corn Growers Club as well as an officer within the Agricultural Business Club. Roberts is an active board member within the Wright County Farm Bureau and serves on several committees. He is involved in the Iowa Corn committees serving on Research and Business Development last year and currently sits on the Grassroots Committee. He serves on the Wright County Corn Growers Board, has represented the county on the District 2 Committee since 2019 and is a part of the Iowa Corn I-LEAD Class 10. He is also an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church

Roberts knows that carbon and climate change continue to be main topics of conversation in today’s world and believes that consumer education on biofuels is more important than ever to encourage a more practical energy solution. With agriculture being an ever-changing industry Roberts believes it is vital to be able to adapt to best suit the interest of the Iowa corn farmer in any new challenge, issue or project that may come up in the future.

 

District 5

Nick Helland has farmed for 20 years in Story County, raising corn, soy, rye and swine. Their farm is a part of a multi-generational farm with four operating families. They were early adopters of precision ag, no-till, cover crops and sustainability. Helland comes with a strong background in data science and agronomy research from industry experience. 

Helland was a part of the Iowa Corn I-LEAD Class 9, Ballard FFA Advisory Council and served on the Iowa Corn Membership and Grassroots Committee and currently on the Iowa Corn Exports and Grain Trade Committee. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in Agricultural Studies and has worked for 15 years at Bayer.

He is passionate about making sure Iowa corn growers have a seat at the table for important policy discussions and ensure we continue to maintain and strengthen global trade partnerships.

Helland and his wife Cara have one son Grant.

 

Derek Kemper is a 5th generation farmer in Tama County, raising corn and soybeans. He farms along his brother-in-law and father-in-law. On their farm, they utilize cover crops for cattle grazing. He graduated from Buena Vista in Criminal Justice and served in the Iowa Army National Guard for eight years. Kemper has worked for Bayer Crop Science and Corteva and as manager of their operation.

Kemper is a member of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Farm Bureau and Christ United Methodist Church in Toledo.  In the past he was a youth group leader for middle school and high school kids and helped the local REC basketball program.

He was exposed to the Iowa Corn Growers Association at an early age when his grandpa served as a director. Seeing his grandpa’s passion to better himself and the average grain producer shaped Kemper both personally and professionally. He is ecstatic to have an opportunity to serve the Iowa corn grower in this capacity and will continue to promote the industry that he lives every day.

Kemper and his wife Amelia have two children, Emma and Grady.

District 7

Ralph Lents has been farming for over 40 years, growing corn, soybeans, alfalfa and a cow/calf operation in Adair County. He uses conservation practices on his farm including no till, buffer strips, terraces and cover crops, working to leave the land in better shape than when he started farming it.

Lents currently serves as the Iowa Corn Promotion Board Director representing District 7 and Chair of the Animal, Ag and the Environment Committee. He also currently serves as a member of the USMEF Executive Committee, the USGC Value Added A-Team and NCGA’s Market Development Action Team.

He is a graduate of Iowa State University and has served as president of the local Adair County Extension and Adair County Corn and Soybean as well as his Adair County Pork Producers. He continues to serve as a member of Pork Producers and as Superintendent of the Adair County Fair. Lents was appointed to the Environmental Protection Commission by Governor Branstad in 2015 and previously served on the board of State Extension and the Central Iowa Power Cooperative.

Lents is passionate about water quality, cover crops, sustainability, ethanol and keeping an eye on livestock rules and manure management.

Lents resides in Menlo and has four children, Erica, Lou, Rob and Katie.

Jeff Thomsen has farmed in Cass County for 36 years raising corn, beans, hay and cattle. On their farm they are always trying to improve conservation practices and are currently working with the Pheasants Forever project with National Corn Growers Association on building habitat and implementing those ideas on his farm. Thomsen works as a welder building feed wagons at Schuler Manufacturing.

Thomsen serves on the Iowa Corn Grassroots Committee, the Cass County Corn and Soybean Association Board and as a voting delegate at ICGA Grassroots Summit. He is also a member of Pheasants Forever, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and Cumberland Community Boosters, as well as a past Cumberland Farmers’ Cooperative board member and Cumberland Telephone Company board member.

Thomsen and his wife Rana have four children Sarah, Matt, Lane ad Jace.

District 9

Paul Gieselman has been farming for more than 25 years in Louisa County raising corn, soybeans, hay, aronia berries and a cow-calf operation. He also runs his own small trucking company. He has traveled to China, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as California and around the Midwest on agriculture trade missions. He employs several conservation practices on his farm including, no-till and reduced tillage, buffer strips and terraces.

If elected, he will focus on finding common-sense approaches to improving water quality, realizing that every farm and farmer is different. He enjoys talking with the non-farm public and helping to engage with them on many different issues including trade, subsidies and animal care. He would continue this work at the state level if elected to the board.

Gieselman is a graduate of the I-LEAD Class 6. He has been an active leader on the Louisa County Farm Bureau Board as well as a State Voting Delegate for the national convention. He currently serves on his county ISU Extension Council being Chairman for 3 years and serving for 9, while leading the various committees within the Council.  He is currently the Chair of the Iowa Association of Extension Councils working to meet the needs of the 99 county Extension Councils. They organize a legislative day on the Hill as well as several professional development events. He is an active 4-H leader for the Wamaco club as well as a state certified shooting sports instructor. Gieselman also stays active locally coaching and umpiring youth sports and volunteering wherever he can at wrestling events, track meets, soccer or for his children’s numerous school events. He also served in the past as the Beef Superintendent at the Louisa County fair.

Gieselman and his wife Sara have three children August, Benjamin and Capp.

 

Heath Greiner has farmed in Davis County for 19 years raising corn, soybeans, hay and apples. He also runs a commercial cow-calf operation, is a Hereford seedstock producer and works as a swine fertilizer application specialist.

Greiner has served as the Vice President of Davis County Corn Growers and as the Treasurer of Davis County Farm Bureau. He is involved in Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau, National Herford Association, DCHC Hospital Board Member, personal ag advocate, is a local supporter of several non-profits and has traveled with Iowa Farm Bureau to Washington D.C. to lobby for multiple years.

He knows that with farming every year comes with new experiences and taking the knowledge of each farming year with an open mind is key to preparing for future years. Greiner wants to continue building upon the success of Iowa Corn and with innovation grow the use and demand for corn today.

Greiner farms along with his wife Shea and his father Matt.

 

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