Gary Marshall

Gary Marshall is the Chief Executive Officer of the Missouri Corn Growers Association and the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council based in Jefferson City, Mo. He has held that position for over 30 years.

Marshall grew up in a small town in Missouri, and he says he enjoys working with farmers and for farmers.

MFT: How’s the situation looking for corn farmers heading into spring planting?

MARSHALL: It’s wet. I know the guys down in the Bootheel are ready to plant. Everybody seems to have the seed that they need. Most have the fertilizer.

MFT: How are things going on the trade front?

MARSHALL: That may be the only good news that’s out there. Trade is continuing. As long as our longshoreman keep working on the docks and as long as the trains keeping running, everything looks good. We’ve seen the first purchase of corn by the Chinese in several years.

MFT: How has the coronavirus situation impacted the outlook for farmers?

MARSHALL: About 60% of our corn farmers also have livestock, particularly cattle. It’s really affected cattle. Corn prices have really been down. Everybody is ready to start planting, but they’re concerned about the prices. If ethanol plants shut down, that’s not going to be good for us.

MFT: How can exports help grow ethanol demand?

MARSHALL: We could see 200 million gallons of ethanol moving into Indonesia. We’re working on Brazil. The only option out there is ethanol exports. Ethanol prices have fallen into the tank. Domestically, it’s going to be tight. People are staying home.

MFT: How are farmers faring the year after the flooding?

MARSHALL: It’s not good for those guys either. One of our board members, Jay Fischer, lives across the river from Jefferson City, and he’s got 150 acres under water again. They’ve not been able to put those levees back in place in many cases, and some that they have they haven’t been able to settle in yet. It’s a real tough situation.

MFT: What’s the mindset for farmers trying to get through the challenging times?

MARSHALL: Hopefully we’ve turned a corner (with the virus), or we’ll turn a corner soon, and the third and fourth quarters could be big if this turns around.

Ben Herrold is Missouri field editor, writing for Missouri Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.