The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) board of directors recently elected Kirby Hettver as its new president for 2017-2018 at its September meeting. Hettver grows corn, soybeans and alfalfa on his farm in DeGraff. He is also married to Amanda Hettver, who owns Granite Floral in downtown Granite Falls.

Hettver is a fifth-generation farmer who has served on the MCGA board of directors since 2014. He has previously served as first vice president and secretary on the board. Hettver’s term began Oct. 1 and lasts one year. He will follow Harold Wolle as MCGA president.

Hettver outlined what he hopes to accomplish during his tenure as MCGA president. A key priority for him is expanding MCGA’s Innovative Grant Program. “There are many farmers who think outside the box,” he said, stressing that many new techniques and technologies first come from these innovative farmers. Hettver says the grant is an important way to encourage greater innovation and problem solving.

Hettver also said it was important for the MCGA to find new opportunities for corn growers to sell their product, particularly in ethanol and livestock markets. He also discussed finding ways to encourage more local processing, and promised to research possible regulatory reforms.

The new MCGA president also discussed long-term goals he hopes to see accomplished. Firstly, he stressed the importance of fostering greater marketplace stability. He explained how MCGA is already working towards this through their collaborative research into greater nutrient use efficiency. He also highlighted new analytical tools, which help farmers use their land and resources more efficiently.

Environmental issues are also at the forefront of Hettver’s mind. He highlighted how Minnesota farmers are already at work experimenting with new sustainable farming practices, and added that a lot of the new technology is “fantastic.” He also looks forward to working with environmental organizations committed “to truly resolving the problem.”

Hettver is excited to kick-off his tenure. “I look forward to working alongside the state’s 24,000 corn farmers to identify and promote opportunities for our growers while leading a unified voice on issues most important to agriculture,” he said. In spite of the remaining challenges, however, Hettver is optimistic about the future of Minnesota corn production.