SDCGA leader elected to national post

Today South Dakota corn producers have the distinct honor to be represented at the national level by one of their own as the National Corn Growers Association Corn Board elected Darrin Ihnen of Hurley, S.D., to the position of first vice president for the 2009 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. 

The action places Ihnen at the second top post for NCGA leadership, in line for presidency of the elite organization. Not since 1999 has South Dakota had a voice at such a high level, when Lynn Jensen of Lake Preston, S.D., served as NCGA President. 

"I’m proud to have been chosen by those I respect so much, and am excited about the opportunity to further serve my fellow growers,” Ihnen said. “The months and years ahead are offering us many challenges, and we have a great team in place to not only meet these challenges but to continue expanding opportunities for our members.” 

Ihnen has served the South Dakota corn industry in several key capacities for nearly a decade. He is a past president of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association board and has served on the SDCGA board since 1999. In addition, Ihnen was elected to the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council (SDCUC) board in 2007.

“Darrin is a respected leader in our organization and has made measurable contributions to our state’s agricultural climate, facilitating development and growth of the ethanol industry and protecting producers’ interests at the state and national levels. It is an honor for our state to have a delegate in a national leadership position,” said Bill Chase, SDCGA president.

Ihnen and his family operate a diversified farming enterprise growing irrigated and dry-land corn and soybeans. They also raise stock cows and manage a contract hog-feeding operation. Ihnen has been involved in corn-grower issues at local, state and national levels participating in NCGA’s Leadership Academy, and NCGA’s Biotechnology Working Group and Production and Stewardship Action Team. He is also a board member of POET Biorefining in Chancellor, S.D. He and his wife, Becky, have four children: Kelsey, Kayla, Kilee and Jacob.

In October, current NCGA president Ron Litterer, a Greene, Iowa, farmer, will become chairman of the Corn Board and Bob Dickey of Laurel, Neb., currently serving as first vice president, will become board president. Officers are traditionally rotated through the three positions each fiscal year. 

The 15-member NCGA Corn Board executes the organization’s policy and strategic vision, as set forth by the Corn Congress, the semiannual meeting of affiliated state organizations. It also bears ultimate responsibility for NCGA’s financial affairs. Ihnen’s election needs to be ratified by the Corn Congress at its July 16 meeting in Washington, D.C.

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