AAI: On The Move

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Agribusiness Association of Iowa (AAI) members are on the move and appreciating the best years for the retail ag industry in this century. Faced with the demand for more corn and soybeans, everyone from the seed companies to the country elevator and anyone who touches the process in between is working hard and pulling together to meet that need and exceed the demand for Iowa’s grains.

AAI continues to support our members with what is called the three Vs — Vision, Value, and Voice. Our Board of Directors has spent many hours developing a vision for the industry, looking at where the association will be in the future and how to be positioned to meet those needs.

One of those projects is the development of a $1 million endowed foundation within the association that will enable the industry to support projects and research to key industry success. The foundation has already achieved several mile markers. We now have two fully endowed projects within the foundation: the Winton Etchen Scholarship and the Chris Murray Stewardship Project Fund. The Winton Etchen scholarship is currently awarded annually. Criteria is now being developed for the first Chris Murray Stewardship Project to be awarded in 2009.

The value of membership is essential to the continued success of any organization and particularly AAI. Annually, members must determine the value of AAI prior to paying their dues. This decision involves review of many things including political and legislative representation along with the many regulatory issues that are negotiated on behalf of the members.

AAI provides exceptional representation in the state legislature and will continue to enhance that in 2008 with two staff persons working issues on the hill in Des Moines. AAI also works daily with regulators at the Iowa Department of Agriculture, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and all other state departments as needed on behalf of individual members and the industry as a whole.

Keys To Succeeding

Key issues to be addressed in 2008 include transportation, water quantity and quality, and the all-important legislative and presidential elections.

AAI members have high expectations of their association, and in 2008 the association will be working to enhance the voice and visibility of the industry through multiple mediums by redefining the communications we have with existing and new members.

Distributing association information to the membership has redefined itself over the last 10 years, with a majority asking for e-mail notifications that allow for immediate member interaction and response.

Additionally, the Web site allows the world to see what is happening within the industry and the association. AAI also believes that many members still appreciate written notifications and will be working to create the most efficient means of distributing this information.

Understanding the needs of industry members and building an even stronger association program that meets those needs continues to be a priority of the AAI Board and staff. AAI expects continued growth in membership in 2008, as well as increased demands from growers for the agronomic and grain expertise provided by Iowa’s ag retailers. Also, expecting a growing need from the membership for assistance with regulatory and legislative needs, AAI looks forward to these opportunities to redefine excellence in the association as we meet those demands to support our members.

Bond is executive director for the Iowa Agribusiness Association, Des Moines, IA.

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