OCGA and OWGA progressing in unification

The Ohio Corn Growers Association (OCGA) and Ohio Wheat Growers Association (OWGA) have taken steps to unite to better represent the interests of thousands of grain farmers throughout the Buckeye State.

At the Ohio Grains Symposium December 16 in Lima, OCGA and OWGA leaders discussed the process and decision to form a new organization with the goal to advance Ohio’s grains with members.

As a single entity as of Jan. 1, 2011, the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) has positioned itself for the regulation and advancement of domestic and international issues that affect the success of Ohio’s corn and wheat markets, including energy, livestock, trade, environment and transportation issues and relief programs, research and marketing programs.

The new organization is the result of an ongoing relationship between the formerly separate associations that has been fostered with shared staff and joint membership meetings, legislative visits, public campaigns and policy-development strategies.

Board members from each of the previous separate groups joined forces to plan for the unification.

”It’s a logical transformation,” said Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association Executive Director Dwayne Siekman. “OCWGA will build upon the successes of the two founding groups and the synergies capitalized on throughout the past several years to have more impact.”

A grower survey conducted in 2009 indicated tremendous support for the new organization.

“In Ohio, many of the issues that we face are not as a grower of one crop, but as a producer of grains that allows us to successfully manage our farms,” said current OCGA president John Davis.

“There’s strength in numbers,” said Mark Wachtman, OWGA president. “We’ll have more impact to increase our farmers’ potential.”

Officers have been elected from the combined group for a term of one year. Formalized “action teams,” comprising OCWGA members, will develop grassroots guidance to board members and serve as a resource for members to familiarize themselves with advocacy issues. OCWGA will continue to work with its national counterparts the National Corn Growers Association and the National Association of Wheat Growers.

“Advancing Ohio grains is our bottom line,” Siekman said. “We look forward to a productive future.”

To visually bond the former separate associations, the new entity engaged in a significant branding process. As part of its launch, OCWGA’s brand elements, including a new logo, will assist in raising awareness about its mission and values.

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