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New corn checkoff leaders talk priorities for South Dakota farmers

New corn checkoff leaders talk priorities for South Dakota farmers

Corn Utilization Council leadership

Three members of the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council were elected to new leadership positions. 

Three new leaders began terms on the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council, the organization that collects a 1-cent-per-bushel checkoff.

Grant Rix of Groton will take over as president, Chad Blindauer of Mitchell as vice president and Jim Ketelhut of Pukwana as secretary/treasurer.

Rix said he is looking forward to his role as president and is excited to help further develop markets and uses for corn and corn products.

One of the biggest concerns Rix has is keeping the integrity of the renewable fuel standard (RFS) intact.

“The science shows that the best way to lower American’s carbon footprint in the liquid fuels market is to utilize more ethanol in our gas tanks. This is a top priority for our farmer led organization,” he said in a news release.

He joined the council in 2018 representing District 5, which includes Brown, Campbell, Corson, Harding, McPherson, Perkins and Walworth counties. Rix serves as the treasurer of the Brown County Watershed District, is on the SDSU Northeast Research Farm advisory board, Groton Area School District board of education, is president of the Northeast Special Education Co-op and is a township board supervisor.

Chad Blindauer has made one of his top priorities serving South Dakota’s corn farmers. He first served on the South Dakota Corn Growers Association’s board of directors from 2001 through 2009, including a term as president. In 2020, he joined the Council board, representing District 8, which encompasses Davison, Hanson, McCook, Hutchinson, Douglas and Bon Homme counties.

His biggest concern for corn farmers is the economic challenges farmers face.

“The biggest issue, by far, is our incredibly tight margins," he said. "Given our volatile commodity prices marketing opportunities are incredibly difficult. That, in turn, makes the bottom line extremely tight. Trying to stay profitable long term is our biggest challenge.”

Ketelhut joined the utilization council board of directors in 2020. He thinks one of the most important issues facing today’s farmers is the rising cost of production. On his farm he grows corn, soybeans, wheat and cover crops, operates a cow/calf operation and has feeders.

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