Word on Wheat: Building Partnerships Key for NAWG

August 21, 2009 Bookmark and Share

David Cleavinger, NAWG Immediate Past President

My fellow officers and I spent the early part of this week meeting in Raleigh, N.C., with representatives from companies that serve on the NAWG Foundation’s Development Committee.

This group is made up of members of allied industries who have vested interests in the future of the wheat industry and want to work together with NAWG through the Foundation. Each year, the group meets with NAWG officers and staff to talk about the status of issues ongoing within the organization and what the future may hold.

This sounds very nice, but I’m sure many of you are wondering what it really means – what do we really do at these meetings?

Most of it is talking and sharing what’s going on within our organizations. The real value in working with companies that make up our industry affiliate committees comes through those conversations, where we can share ideas and suggestions for future action.

We talk about the activities of the Foundation – what’s working, what’s not – and plans to improve both the quantity and quality of things the Foundation does for the wheat industry.

We also talk about policy, like hot regulatory topics that will have big impacts on all farm-related businesses – sustainability, climate change – and items that come down from the courts, like the Sixth Circuit Court’s decision earlier in the year that will lead to increased permitting requirements for pesticides.

Others topics are more general and persistent in nature and come from the court of public opinion – like the need to fight the major, coordinated attacks out there on agriculture writ large, led by people who would love nothing better than to see the farmers that produce most of our food go out of business.

If a company is or a group of companies are working on an issue of common interest – like the Sixth Circuit case – and we have similar policy, we can almost always be more productive working together than inventing the wheel yet again by ourselves.

These meetings tend to remind me of that fact – while many of us may spend a lot of time alone in our daily lives on the farm, everything we do really involves working as much as we can with others. None of us – individually or as an association – can act as an island, and those of you who have been to Washington yourselves know you can hardly call a meeting without coalition partners. We all have to work together to get things done.

– Cleavinger is a wheat producer from Wildorado, Texas.