Farmer-leaders elected to Iowa Corn boards of directors

Farmer-leaders elected to Iowa Corn boards of directors

Iowa Corn Growers Association and Iowa Corn Promotion Board election results announced.

Iowa Corn has announced the results of last week’s elections to the boards of directors of the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB). The elections were held July 19, 2016 and results announced July 25.

Iowa corn farmers elect peers to serve on the ICPB to oversee the investment of the dollars collected from the Iowa Corn Checkoff. Checkoff board members serve three years. The board’s primary activities include development of both domestic and foreign markets, funding research into new and value-added corn uses, and educating the public about the corn industry.

CORN VOTE: Anyone who has produced or marketed 250 bushels of corn or more in Iowa in the previous marketing year is eligible to vote in Iowa Corn Board Promotion Board director elections. For the other organization, ICGA, members vote for directors to their board.

Members of the other organization, the ICGA, elect their board of directors to focus on policy issues, and to lobby both the state legislature and Congress, advocating on behalf of corn farmers on these various issues.

Iowa Corn Growers Association focuses on policy issues
The corn farmers elected as ICGA directors will continue to bring grassroots policy issues forward and be the collective voice for 8,000 corn farmer-members, lobbying on agricultural issues at the state and federal level. They include:

District 1 - Dean Meyer, Lyon County *
District 3 - Mark Mueller, Bremer County
Direct 6 - Jim Greif, Linn County *
* Denotes directors re-elected

Iowa Corn Promotion Board oversees state corn checkoff
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. These individuals include:

District 2 - Tom Renner, Hancock County
District 5 - Roger Zylstra, Jasper County *
District 7 - Ralph Lents, Adair County
District 8 - Gary Petersohn, Ringgold County
* Denotes directors re-elected

Both organizations are charged with creating opportunities for long-term Iowa corn grower profitability. Elected directors will begin to serve on September 1, 2016.

The Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) works to develop and defend markets, fund research, and provide education about corn and corn products. The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) is an 8,000-member strong grassroots-driven organization, headquartered in Johnston, Iowa, serving members across the state, and lobbying on agricultural issues on behalf of its farmer members to create opportunities for long-term Iowa corn grower profitability. For more information, visit

Representing the state’s corn farmers
Here are biographies for each director elected last week to the Iowa Corn Growers Association and to the Iowa Corn Promotion Board.

Dean Meyer has been farming for 33 years near Rock Rapids in Lyon County.  He raises corn, soybeans and alfalfa, owns a cattle finishing operation as well as a swine finishing operation. He uses various conservation practices on his farm including terracing, contour farming, split nitrogen application and most recently cover crops. Meyer has developed and managed manure nutrient plans for his swine and cattle operations. Meyer served as chair of the Lyon County Pork Producers and president of the Farmers Elevator Co-Op Board and the Lyon County Extension Council.

Dean serves as chair of the Iowa Corn Growers Association’s Animal Ag and Environment Committee and on the Executive Committee at U.S. Meat Export Federation.  He is also a member of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Cattlemen, Iowa Pork Producers, Iowa Soybean Association, South Dakota Corn Growers and Western Farmers Alliance. Dean and his wife, Linda, have five children. Their son, Alvie and his wife Alice, are involved full-time on the family farm.

Mark Mueller is a fourth-generation farmer who has farmed for 21 years near Waverly in Bremer County, producing corn, soybeans, alfalfa, specialty beans, forage rye and corn for silage. Mueller Farms implements no-till practices and uses cover crops.  He is a grassroots member of the ICGA’s Animal Agriculture and Environment Committee and serves as ICGA’s director for the Iowa Nutrient Research and Education Council.

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) and the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (Leadership Iowa).  Before farming, he worked in research, production and sales in the seed industry.

Current and 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, director of the Greene Bean Project and member of the Bremer County Extension Council. He has served on the editorial advisory board for Top Producer magazine and has written articles for that publication and others. Mark and his wife, Jeri, have two daughters, Kate and Sarah, both in college.

James Greif farms near Monticello in Linn County, where he raises corn and soybeans. He has been farming for 40 years. He is also the owner of Prairieview Ag Service and is a certified crop Adviser.    

He has served on the Linn County Farm Bureau board of directors for the past 36 years and is also a member of both the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Iowa Soybean Association. Jim serves on the NCGA NASCAR Advisory Committee and the U.S. Grains Council Value-Added Committee. Past activities include serving on the American Farm Bureau National Task Force on Information Technology, the Iowa Farm Bureau Wildlife committee. He is also the past president and a voting delegate for the Linn County Farm Bureau. 

Greif is on the Cedar Rapids Airport Board, a Boulder Township Trustee, Board President for Fire District #4 and a volunteer fireman. He is also a member of & currently serves as the vice-president of the National Rumley Tractor Collectors Club. James and his wife Sharon have three children.

Tom Renner as a farmer has spanned the last 41 years, beginning his career in 1971 farming in partnership with his father and brother. He now farms with his son Brent growing corn and soybeans in Hancock County. Tom has served as a member of AgVentures Alliance since its inception in 1998, holding a board position from 1999 to 2004. He was the former president of the Hancock County Farm Bureau from 1993 to 1995 and a voting delegate from 1996 to 1999. He also has held positions on the Klemme Co-op board of directors for several years during the 1970’s. Tom holds a Farm Operations Degree from Iowa State University. He has always been interested in how commodity checkoff organizations work to add value for Iowa’s farmers. Tom is passionate about being a good ambassador for agriculture and in communicating how farmers are striving to protect our soil and water.  Tom and his wife Janelle raised their four children (Carrie, Jana, Brent, Jon) on the family farm southeast of Garner and now reside in Ventura. They are active members of Peace Reformed Church of Garner, where Tom has served as an elder, deacon and Sunday school teacher. In his spare time, Tom enjoys singing in the barbershop chorus and fishing. 

Roger Zylstra has been farming for 40 years, raising corn and soybeans, finishing hogs and cattle in Jasper County. He has used conservation tillage and no-till throughout his career and recycles manure into his nutrient management program. Roger uses precision agriculture, fall cover crops and is enrolled in the Soil Health Partnership program. 

Roger currently serves on Iowa Corn’s Animal Ag and the Environment Committee, the U.S. Meat Export Federation Pork Advisory Committee, NCGA’s Growers Services Action team and U.S. Grains Council Biotech Action team. He has served on the Sully Co-op Associate Board, filled all leadership positions with the Jasper County Farm Bureau and is a graduate of the Iowa Corn Leadership Enhancement and Development (I-LEAD) program. He is especially interested in promoting opportunities for individuals to be engaged in agriculture to help the public understand the farmer’s dedication to proving safe and wholesome food and care for the environment.

Zylstra and his wife, Carolyn, have three children. He also serves as a church elder for the Sully Christian Reformed Church, as a Richland township trustee, and as a board member for the Sully Fire Department.

Ralph Lents has been farming for 40 years, growing corn, soybeans and hay in Adair County. He has uses conservation tillage and no-till practices including buffer strips working to leave the land in better shape than when he started farming it.   

He is a graduate of Iowa State University and has served in roles as president of the Adair County Extension, and as president of the county corn and soybean association and the county pork producers. He is a member of the Adair County Cattlemen, Pork Producers, Extension Board and past Superintendent of the Adair County Fair. 

He was appointed to the state of Iowa’s Environmental Protection Commission by Governor Branstad in 2015 and previously served on the board of Iowa State Extension and the Central Iowa Power Cooperative. Lents and his wife, Joan reside in Menlo and have four children: Erica, Lou, Rob and Katie. 

Gary Petersohn has been farming for 40-plus years raising corn, soybeans, hay and maintaining a cow/calf operation. He is a member of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, and the Iowa Cattleman’s Association. He has served 24 years, many of those as vice president, on the board of the Farmers Cooperative Company in Afton, Iowa. He has filled many non-ag leadership roles as well, such as 12 years on the Mount Ayr Community school board, including 2 years as president.

He is also a past member of the Tingley Presbyterian Church board and the Tingley Lions Club. Gary appreciates the ongoing success of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and is pleased to represent his district. Gary and his wife Teena have two daughters.

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