Terry Vinduska with the Kansas Corn Commission

(Terry Vinduska) I’m Terry Vinduska. I’m with the Kansas Corn Commission Farm in Marion County in the central part of Kansas. The exciting part about the Checkoff is we take the perceptions from a local farmer, we implement them on both the statewide and the national basis and also an international basis where we look at exports overseas. So it’s exciting to take the message from back home and multiply that by tens of thousands of people, tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars to work together on a national and international basis for the good of the Kansas corn farmer. Kansas Corn Commission cannot lobby but we partner with both National Corn Growers Association, which can lobby; Kansas corn growers obviously can work in Topeka. National corn growers work in D.C. The Corn Commission helps fund the US Grains Council that works directly overseas to develop overseas markets. The current concern about trade, we don’t really know the direction things are going to go right now. We’re optimistic. We know the importance of bilateral trade agreements. We know how important trade is to Kansas farmers, Kansas livestock producers, so it’s very crucial that we always maintain those overseas markets. EPA for a lot of farmers is a four-letter word. We’re really very, very frustrated with some of the guidelines that are put forth by EPA. It looks to many others that there’s not a lot of common sense involved in some of those determinations. We’re certainly dealing with rulings and restrictions that really challenge our ways of managing our farm and really limit us as to being the best managers we possibly could be on our farms. It’s crucial that we provide good input that the EPA considers sound science when they look at making some of those rules and regulations for us. Education is crucial. We need to educate our farmers, our producers for best management practices. We need to utilize everything efficiently and effectively. Education also goes to outside the boundaries of the US. I’ve had the great opportunity of hosting many trade routes from overseas. Just this last year I had a group of Mexican importers. We were looking at some of our cornfields, and some of our sorghum fields and they asked me the question about the GMOs. This particular time we were standing in a grain sorghum field. Obviously grain sorghum is not GMO and so they said, “Well isn’t this much more healthy than a GMO produced corn crop?” I said, “Well the field you’re standing in has been sprayed three times with a herbicide to control weeds. It’s been sprayed twice with a poisonous toxic insecticide to control two different insect pests that have been moving into our sorghum field.” So I said, “Which would you rather be a part of? Would you rather be a part of a grain that’s been sprayed five times or a grain that’s naturally resistant to insect pests and maybe been sprayed once or twice with a herbicide?” That brings to mind the education factor. They don’t ever stop and think about that. They don’t stop and think about the negatives that can be involved with chemic control rather than genetic control. It’s an interesting opportunity. The Kansas Corn Growers, Kansas Corn Commission really are grassroots organizations for farmers. We deal with these challenges that farmers face everyday, every minute of every day and if we don’t have farmer involvement, if we’re not involved in making those decisions, then we expect someone else to do that for us. Then we sit around and we complain but we have no one to blame but ourselves. We have to be involved. We have to take a step out of our comfort zone for most of us and go out there and really work to help change things for the better. Otherwise we have no excuse. We can’t complain because we haven’t done our part. It’s just really important for everyone to do their part on a local basis, on a national basis, whatever works for you. Just get out there and be a part of things to change for the better.

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