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Chairman’s Desk Changing of the Guard

My term as NSP chairman is coming to an end after two years that have passed very quickly. For the NSP staff and board, it has been a busy time full of change, success and growth.

In 2011, the United Sorghum Checkoff Program referendum passed by a large majority. This affi rmed our belief as an organization that producers were ready and willing to invest in their industry and that starting a checkoff was the right thing to do. In 2009, after years of eff ort with Congress and USDA, we successfully changed the crop insurance price election formula for sorghum, giving growers more eff ec- tive risk management. Through the years, Sorghum Grower magazine has solidifi ed itself as a valuable tool for producers and an image builder for the industry as we expand into new spaces like bio-based products. NSP has also invested a great deal of time to sustain and grow sorghum’s place in the ethanol industry. We began the industry’s fi rst ever federal Political Action Committ ee and are able to make our voices heard in a vitally important facet of government.

Whether it’s working toward consensus on sorghum’s role in the Renewable Fuels Standard , following crop insurance or trade legislation, or simply educating new members of Congress about sorghum, there is always something going on. No orga- nization has worked harder for its members than NSP.

The faces at NSP have changed over the past two years—directors and staff have moved on, and new people have joined the eff ort. Such changes always bring mixed emotions—a litt le sadness at not seeing the familiar faces of talented people who have become your friends, and excitement about meeting people who bring new skills and enthusiasm to the organization.

I cannot say enough about NSP CEO Tim Lust and the NSP board and staff , both past and present. The staff works tirelessly to keep the board informed and pre- pared. They spend countless hours, days and late nights on the road and in the offi ce informing and representing the industry.

The board members have selfl essly given their time and are always willing to step up to any challenge. The staff and board have made my job as chairman easy and enjoyable. Running this organization has been a group eff ort. For the most part, being chairman just meant I got the nice chair at the end of the boardroom table! I would not trade the team at NSP with anyone.

I would like to thank the NSP staff and my board for all their help, support and friend- ship. I would also like to thank my wife Julie and my family for all their help and sup- port. The time I spent with the organization was their time, too, and I could not have done it without their encouragement. Lastly, I would like to thank you, the sorghum growers, for your input and encouragement, and the privilege of serving you.

Gerald Simonsen farms with his family in Ruskin, Neb. He has been a member of the NSP board of directors since 1999, and will now serve as past chairman for the organization. The NSP board of directors and staff would like to thank Gerald for his time and commitment to the National Sorghum Producers and the sorghum industry.

SORGHUM Grower Fall 2011 5

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