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As a farmer, you work from dawn to dusk. You plan.  You  budget. You worry. You sweat. You hope. You pray. And yet, one stroke of a pen in Washington, DC can do as much to make or break your profitability as the thousands of hours you devote to your crop each season.

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National Corn Growers Association Launches New Podcast to Tell the Stories Behind the Issues (Wed, 22 Jan 2020)
Get a behind the scenes look at the corn industry and corn issues in Wherever Jon May Roam, a new podcast launched today and hosted by National Corn Growers Association CEO Jon Doggett and a cast of friends. Wherever Jon May Roam is a forum for big picture conversations about the future of farming and the corn industry. Wherever Jon May Roam launched today and can be found at on iTunes, Google Play and wherever you get your podcasts. “Punchy headlines and clever tweets may be easy to consume, but they don’t always foster understanding,” said Doggett. “The idea behind Wherever Jon May Roam is to have real conversations with the many disparate players that are shaping the world of corn so that we can get to know who they are as people and see how that affects what they want to get done for our industry. They say good conversation starts with good listening, and I’ll be doing a lot of that as host of our new podcast.” New episodes of Wherever Jon May Roam will be released every month. Subscribe now on your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode.

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Ep. 1 - Hello, My Name is Jon (Wed, 22 Jan 2020)
Jon Doggett, the CEO of the National Corn Growers Association, travels thousands of miles each year in his mission to protect the future of the American corn-growing industry. And he's got the stories to prove it. But in this age of quick sound bites and snappy tweets, Jon believes it's time to have a real conversation again. And so he's launching "Wherever Jon May Roam," a podcast dedicated to telling the story behind the headlines and exploring the issues that impact corn producers' bottom lines. In this episode, Jon shares some stories about growing up on a ranch in Montana, laments the changing nature of politics in Washington D.C., and shares his plans for the podcast with NCGA VP of Communications Neil Caskey. Direct Share Show Transcript Jon Doggett: I roam a lot and I'm looking forward to bringing this podcast to different places around the country and having different conversations with different people. I'm going to roam into some places and have some conversations with folks that most of our farmers don't hear much from, but who nonetheless are still very, very much a part of what is going on in agriculture. Dusty Weis: Hello and welcome to Wherever Jon May Roam, the National Corn Growers Association Podcast. It's where leaders, growers and stakeholders in the corn industry can turn for big picture conversations about what the future may hold. I'm Dusty Weis and I have the privilege of introducing this project, as well as your host, Association CEO Jon Doggett. You're going to be able to join Jon every month as he travels the country on a mission to advocate for America's corn farmers. From the fields of the corn belt to the DC beltway we'll make sure that the growers who feed America have a say in issues that are important to them with key leaders who are shaping the future of agriculture. Dusty Weis: So you're going to want to take a moment to subscribe to this podcast in your favorite podcast app if you haven't already. That way you can take us with you and your truck, your combine or your next business trip and never miss an update from Jon. Also make sure that you follow the NCGA on Twitter that @NationalCorn and sign up for the National Corn Growers Association newsletter in your email at and with that it's about time to introduce Jon. Dusty Weis: Anyone who's spent time in farm country will tell you it's about as far from Washington, D.C. as you can get, not just geographically but also when it comes to values, mindsets, approaches to problem-solving and so much more. Yet perhaps more than ever before, the folks on Capitol Hill and the folks in farm country need each other, they need common ground. After all, food production is a national security matter, but growers are facing generational change and it'll take a strong voice in Washington to shepherd them through. Dusty Weis: That's where the National Corn Growers Association comes in and at the center of it all is a fellow by the name of Jon Doggett. Named as the National Corn Growers Association CEO just over a year ago, he's played an executive role advocating for the interests of corn farmers for nearly 20 years, and like so many in this business he traces his roots back to the farm. Dusty Weis: So Jon, let me be the first then to welcome you to the world of podcasting. Jon Doggett: Thank you. It's exciting. I'm really looking forward to this. Dusty Weis: I think that a lot of people have been looking forward to it as word has gotten out that this is going to be happening here. Joining us also today is Neil Caskey and NCGA's Vice President of Communications. Neil, thanks for jumping on. Neil Caskey: You bet, and I am looking forward to this as well. Dusty Weis: So gentlemen, the name of this show is Wherever Jon May Roam. What inspired you to launch this podcast and what are your goals for going forward? Jon Doggett: Well, I'm going to let Neil take the first part of that question and I'll take the second half after he finishes the first part. Neil Caskey: I guess for me it goes back several years. You think about the media world that we're living in or micro text world that has kind of rewired our brains a little bit to think in short characters. Headlines, punchy attention grabbing tweets and that's just the surface level information that really only just kind of conveys what happened and how someone might feel about it. It doesn't explain the why behind the issue or the situation and to me it's just about understanding why something happened. Knowing that, why it happened, why people feel the way they do is the best way to solving and problems, always has been, I'm guessing it probably always will be that way and solving problems is really, at least for our members, is what we're paid to do here at NCGA. Neil Caskey: More than anything I think I just want to get behind the headlines. I want to get just beneath the surface of some of the priorities hat we work on to shed some light on the thinking behind them and I guess more important than that, the people behind that thinking. You can't do that on Twitter. You can't do that on a press release. It has to come in a conversation, like we're having here. Dusty Weis: And Jon, what about you? You're the lucky one who gets to have your name in the show. It's called Wherever Jon May Roam. What does that mean to you? Jon Doggett: Well, I travel a lot. I go all around the country, do a little international travel, but mostly I travel across the Midwest and back and forth to D.C. and I spend a lot of time in our headquarters in St. Louis. I roam a lot and I'm looking forward to bringing this podcast to different places around the country and having different conversations with different people. And not only different locations, but different conversations. I'm going to roam into some places and have some conversations with folks that most of our farmers don't hear much from, but who nonetheless are still very, very much a part of what is going on in agriculture. Jon Doggett: So we're going to have some conversations with somebody from the beer industry, we're going to have conversations with somebody from the environmental community, we're going to have conversations about diversity and inclusion, so that we can bring some of these conversations to the tractor, to the combine, to the pickup truck, so that the folks listening really feel like they're part of what is that is going on in their organization. Dusty Weis: That's really one of my favorite things about it, is when you're talking about a group as a wide-ranging and diverse as corn farmers, you're talking about folks that spend a lot of time out on the tractor or in the combine and it's a great way to reach a demographic that traditionally hasn't really been targeted by a lot of other media efforts. Jon Doggett: Well, certainly not. It has been amazing to me, as I have mentioned to some of our growers and some of our board members, just how many people listen to podcasts that I never thought they would be listening to podcasts, but they do. Dusty Weis: So it's not really news to anybody that this is a little bit of a tumultuous time both in agriculture and in Washington D.C. right now, and I know there's always a lot of buzz over the State of the Union around this time of year, but from where you sit, what would you say is the state of agriculture right now, Jon? Can we unpack exactly what's going on in this industry and how did that influence your decision to launch this show? Jon Doggett: I think that the state of agriculture is probably more chaotic, more stressful than I think even in some ways, than it was in the '80s and I was involved in agriculture in the '80s and remember those very tough times. What we have now is, it seems that a lot of things that are beyond our growers control are influencing their bottom line and how they live, how they farm, and what their rural community is doing in reaction to some of these externalities, so I think everybody is nervous. Jon Doggett: What I've heard from a lot of people in agriculture over and over again is, "I'm really looking forward to turning the calendar from 2019 to 2020 and having a new start with a new year and seeing if we can have a little bit more of a normal year in 2020," and I think that's something we all want. Dusty Weis: In terms of New Year's resolutions that's certainly a one that I think that we all have here. It's been a very tumultuous time, but it's also, at this point, it's ambitious just with everything that's going on to sort of get back to that normal. Dusty Weis: Jon, you mentioned that you've been in agriculture since the '80s and I want to unpack your background just a little bit more. You actually grew up on a ranch in Montana. Jon Doggett: That's right. Dusty Weis: Having come from farm country myself, I know that an experience like that does more than just shape your career, it shapes who you are as a person. Life in a state like Montana is also kind of a mystery to the kind of folks that you meet in D.C. where you spend a lot of time. So how do you explain to those folks just how big a state like Montana is? Jon Doggett: Well the ranch I grew up on was when I was a kid and still is today 100 miles to the nearest stop light. When I tell people, particularly some of my friends, they say, "Well that explains a whole lot about you, Jon." It's very remote. The ranch I grew up on, certainly the productivity levels are a lot less than they would be in a cornfield in the Midwest. Our family has to put a ton of hay in that cow every winter and we have to irrigate the hay up and that cow and that calf are going to take 25 or so acres of grazing ground in the summer to get through the summer. Jon Doggett: So it's not real productive country. It's rough country, a lot of a lot of mountains and 12-14 inches of precipitation a year, most of that comes in the form of snow. So it's a very different kind of agriculture, but it's still agricultural. Dusty Weis: Talking to the friends that I have that grew up on the farm, no matter how they felt about it at the time, some folks loved growing up on the farm and doing chores, some folks it grated on them a little bit, but talking to every single one of them now, whether they wound up back on the farm or not, I think a lot of them say they wouldn't trade the experience of growing up there for the world. How do you feel about it? Jon Doggett: Absolutely. Everything I have done in my life I think has been built on that base of where I grew up, how I grew up, and in the things I did as a kid, but like a lot of folks that didn't go back to the farm or didn't go back to the ranch, there's some of those pivotal moments in your childhood. I remember as a teenager thinking, "Maybe I could get a job where I don't have to be hot or cold or wet or dirty or dusty and I could be inside for a while," and that has all happened, and then when I get back to the ranch, the first thing I want to do is be outside Dusty Weis: And get dirty and cold and hot and dusty while you're at it. Jon Doggett: Yeah. Dusty Weis: Yeah, exactly. Jon Doggett: I absolutely enjoy it. Yeah. Neil Caskey: That's not much different than a professional life in Washington D.C. though, is it really? Jon Doggett: Well, there's dirty and then there's filthy. Dusty Weis: How did that experience and doing that work every day and chores, how did that shape the person that you became today? Jon Doggett: I think that one of the things that I have realized and some of it is I've realized it much later after I left home, is just how much work it takes to make something, whether it's the work that it takes to raise a calf or to irrigate hay up or do all the things that you need to do to produce that commodity, and it takes so many different skills and it takes so much work. I think that's really the thing I've come more and more to admire about agriculture, is just the depth and breadth of tools and knowledge and understanding you need to do all of that. Neil Caskey: So those of us that were raised in rural America you know how much of an impact mom and dad have on our lives. So Jon, just thinking to, having been raised on that ranch in Montana, what are, what are a few of the things that your mom or your dad taught you that still hold true and impact your life today? Jon Doggett: From my mom I developed a love for reading and for music and those two things allowed me to explore a life outside of that small rural community in central Montana where I grew up and both of those things have provided me with a lot of enjoyment and fulfillment through the years. From my dad, my dad was intellectually curious. He always wanted to know what was going on in other parts of agriculture, and dad's been gone now for just over eight years, but one of the things he used to absolutely love was when I would send him the brochure, the booklet from the corn yield contest. Jon Doggett: Where I grew up, there was no way you were going to raise corn, we don't have the growing season, but he was always interested in the yields people got how they got them, and that was just part of what he was curious about. Dad was curious about everything and he really instilled a lot of that in my brothers and I, of always asking questions. The other thing I think my dad did is my dad was someone who always had an opinion and was always only too eager to go ahead and express it, and he was very articulate in doing so, but he taught my brothers and I not to back away from challenging things and to questioning things, and that's part of that curiosity about life that he had. I think those things from each of my parents have done me well and been a great benefit to me. Dusty Weis: Those sound like great life lessons and I'm sure that you were grateful as life progressed that you still had your parents back on the ranch and could go to them for counsel or advice, especially once you went off to a place like D.C., but when you first got your job in D.C. working for the National Corn Growers Association, how do you tell folks back home what the CEO of the NCGA does? Jon Doggett: There are so many questions people have and so many misconceptions people have about Washington D.C. and what's going on here. When I'm at home, I get the questions. One of the first questions is "How bad is the crime?" And I say, "Well, it isn't any worse than it is in Billings, Montana or Bozeman unless you go to some sketchy places in this city," but there are certainly some tough areas in Montana. It's unfortunate, but the thing that people cannot get over is the commute. I lived 26 miles from the office in D.C. and if I can get into work at rush hour time in less than an hour and a half, I'm just about as happy as I can be, and that is just stunning to folks because in Montana, an hour and a half, that means you could get a hundred miles down the road with a time to stop off for coffee. Dusty Weis: Unless there's a Combine on the road then traffic tends to back up behind that. Jon Doggett: Where I grew up, it was generally cattle in the road in the springtime and in the fall time, but you always kind of knew who was going to be in the road, what time of the year. Dusty Weis: So how does it feel then to come back to Montana after all that time that you've spent in D.C.? Jon Doggett: One of the first things I notice when I get off the airplane and I'll rent a car to go drive to the ranch and I find myself driving like I drive in D.C. and I have to remind myself that leave the horn alone, I don't need to drive as fast, I don't need to drive as aggressively and I don't need to yell and swear at people that drive a little too slow and then the pace is so much slower. It is and it takes me a day or two or three sometimes just to let go of the stuff that occurs in the city and get back to enjoying a different way of life. Dusty Weis: When I get out of town, I very often get out to my parents' place and just kind of step out the back door, take a deep breath, breathe in the fresh air and go, "Whew. Okay. It's time for a break." Jon Doggett: Yeah. It's just getting out and taking a walk or taking a drive, looking at cattle, doing the things that I did when I was a kid and I enjoy it now. I certainly didn't when I was a kid a lot of times. I actually enjoy going home and working cattle with my brother. I was not wild about a working cattle when I was a kid, but I really find a lot of enjoyment in that now. Dusty Weis: So speaking of herding cattle and working on Capitol Hill, are there any other similarities to life in Montana and life in D.C. that you've discovered in your time going back and forth between the two? Jon Doggett: I think that D.C. gets a bad rep and it's always amazing to me, whether it be people in Montana or the corn belt or wherever, complaining about politicians in Washington D.C. but you know what? Washington D.C. didn't pluck those folks out of the air, we sent them to this great city. I think that's what's interesting to me, is how can we complain about a government that we elect and we need to be holding our politicians more accountable. I tell people... In fact, I was in Iowa earlier this week and had a conversation at dinner with some folks and I said, "You know, the last person you want to vote for is someone that says they're going to come to Washington D.C. and fight and fight and fight." Jon Doggett: That's not the way life works. You wouldn't go and find your life partner and say, "The prime prerequisite for my life partner or a member of my family is that they're willing to fight." What about people that want to learn from one another? And I do not think compromise is a bad word because that's the way things get done, whether it be on Capitol Hill or whether it be in your marriage or your relationship with the rest of your family, particularly your children. And now that I have grandchildren, I relate learning that lesson about what are the fights you want to have? Unfortunately in recent years, Washington has become filled full of people who want to yell and who want to fight and I really wonder why people back outside of D.C. want to continue to send those folks. Jon Doggett: Can they please send folks that say, "You know what? I'm going to go to Washington and for the first two years I'm going to listen, and if I come from a rural part of America, I'm going to meet and get to know folks who represent urban and suburban districts, and I hope that I learn about their districts and I get an opportunity that they learned about mine." Maybe we can find some common ground that we can work on some of the many, many problems that face this great nation and we can start working towards solutions. That's what we used to do, not perfectly because our founding fathers did not want a perfect government. They knew that this government was going to be comprised of people, but I think we need to get back to some of those things that we used to do a long time ago that allowed people to go ahead and get along with one another a little bit better. Dusty Weis: Jon, you've been in Washington long enough now holding various positions that you've seen a couple different generations of elected leaders come and go, and you noted how it started to skew toward more shouting and less compromise, but in that time, has Washington changed in other ways? Anything for the better or has it mostly been a backslide? Jon Doggett: I think there are a couple things, and I'm going to list some odd things. One is I think we need to bring back earmarks. Historically, we've spent less on earmarks than we have on farm programs. That money is going to get spent anyway and those decisions will then be reached by unelected career bureaucrats, but there's been a lot of legislation that's been passed when someone who, "Well, I really don't have a dog in this fight, but you know I'm going to vote no," and then somebody comes along and says, "You know, you really need that bridge, don't you?" "Yes, I need a bridge in my district." "Well why don't we go ahead and fold that money for that bridge into this legislation and you can vote for it," and it gets voted for and things pass. Jon Doggett: The other thing is I think members of Congress ought to live in Washington D.C. and go back to their district rather than live at home and come to Washington. I remember I worked for a very conservative member of the House Of Representatives from the great state of Montana and I remember when we were marking up the 1990 Farm Bill, Congressman Marlin had came back to the office and he had been sparring back and forth with another member of The House Ag Committee on the other side of the aisle. I said, "Well, you kind of pulled your punches there." He said, "You know, I had to," because Cindy, his wife had invited this member of Congress and his to dinner at the following Saturday, and he said, "You know, I can't really go ahead and let loose and then sit across the dinner table in my house with my guests." Jon Doggett: So I think those are the kinds of things, the relationships that we're not forming. Members of Congress don't know one another. They might know who belongs to their caucus and who they are ideologically similar to, but they're not really meeting other folks and they're not interacting with other folks. I think those are two things that a lot of folks out in the countryside will say, "Gosh, earmarks? That's terrible. Living in Washington they'll get Potomac fever and they'll forget all about us." I'd like to think people can do a better job than that. Jon Doggett: I think the other thing is social media certainly has not helped the discourse at all. All it has done is allowed for a more shouting in a different form. It hasn't done much to find truth, it certainly hasn't done much to find commonality across a wider spectrum of the political discourse. Dusty Weis: I think there's especially something to that point that you made about people needing to live in Washington D.C. because I don't know how your experience growing up in a small town was, but growing up in small town Wisconsin, I very often felt that people had to be more tolerant of other people's opinions simply from the fact that you're going to bump into so-and-so at the grocery store, so if you call them lunkhead today, you're going to see him tomorrow and you have to interact and you just still have to deal with each other. To a certain extent, I think that that's a lesson that you can take from small town life and apply to Washington D.C. and politics in general, but what are some other lessons that you think that the folks in D.C. could learn from a small town in Montana? Jon Doggett: I definitely think Capitol Hill is a small city, small town. You only have 535 members of Congress, and if they could act a little bit more like they were living in a small town, if they spent more time here and if they interacted more, they'd have to be a little bit more tolerant, they'd have to be a little more accepting and just to let stuff go occasionally. We're always looking for the next fight, we're always looking for the next headline. There's no headlines that appear on a newspaper that says, "Nothing much happened today on Capitol Hill." That's not a headline that's going to sell newspapers. Dusty Weis: Neil, I think it's worth exploring your background a little bit here too. You play an important role in facilitating the communication between these two very different worlds in which Jon lives and works. So what does it take to do what you do for the National Corn Growers Association? Neil Caskey: Wow, that's a loaded question. I do want to go back to one of the things that Jon said, just in Congress we need more people that know how to listen or are willing to do that and a lot less people that are wanting to yell. I worked in D.C. for four years, so I don't think I ever tell anyone that I lived in D.C. because you don't know that four years really allows you to say that about any place, but I had that small experience primarily because of something that my family, just some kindness and good that came from Washington. We grew up in a small rural town in Southeast Missouri, town of Sikeston. We were represented by a Congressman, Bill Emerson. So father of who, Jon? Jon Doggett: Kat Emerson, who up until a couple of days ago, Workforce. Neil Caskey: That's right. Neil Caskey: That's right. So we, just an ordinary family, we didn't give much if anything to any political party or person, but we had a situation and we needed help and he did. So he leaned in and he helped our family, and I was just struck at a young age at just how someone, at least to me, that seemed so powerful that was willing to just stand in and intervene on our behalf with the federal government. Since that day I have always been fascinated by politics and people like Congressman Emerson that he was willing to listen. He was a Republican that probably had as many Democrat friends as he did Republicans and probably didn't even care what letter sat next to their state in a press release that they were mentioned in. Neil Caskey: I've always been fascinated by politics, so that fascination has changed in recent years. It's almost like politics was a thing that was a secondary interest and now it's like an industry that has a hold on our everyday lives. The colors and the earbuds that I'm listening in this conversation today, there is a red for, I guess that's to connote right side of my head and a blue to plug into the left ear. Colors have been politicized, shoes have been politicized, sports have been politicized. Everything is filtered through a political lens and that's absolutely crazy to me and I'm dying to know. I'm a pretty curious person myself, I am dying to know why that's happened. Neil Caskey: So my career, I guess, back to your question, it's been in the policy realm I guess in different roles and responsibilities, but it has been because I still believe that politics and policies can help people. At the end of the day that's basically what we're doing here at NCGA. We don't support ethanol just for the sake of ethanol, we don't support trade for the sake of trade. We do those things because we believe it will make the lives of our members better and I guess despite the hand wringing and trash-talking about politics and the modern American model of it, I still love it and I'm excited to explore it in a different way that will hopefully result in a lot more listening and certainly a lot less yelling. Dusty Weis: I think that's the really exciting opportunity about this podcast that you guys at the NCGA have built here and why I'm really excited to be a part of it, is that you're taking the time and the effort to create that space in which conversation and consensus can develop. I certainly think that that's something worth celebrating. This podcast will also serve as a vehicle to cut through the chatter and connect the association to the people and issues that are important to corn producers. So what are some of those issues that we can expect to hear about in the month ahead here? Jon Doggett: We're going to be talking in this organization about how to increase demand for corn. That's going to be number one, and then number two will be how are we going to increase demand for corn, and then number three will be how are we going to increase demand for corn? We're going to be shooting at a lot of different targets. Obviously one will continue to be ethanol and then we need to resolve some of these trade issues. We are also working very hard to find new uses for corn. Can we be making plastics out of corn? Certainly, there's a lot more attention to the damage that plastics are doing to the environment. Can we make plastics out of corn? We know we can, but can we do it the right way and can we do it efficiently and can we do it that's not cost-prohibitive? Jon Doggett: Then I think there's going to be some opportunities in the conservation area. There's more and more emphasis from some in the environmental community that the best environmental outcomes come from working lands and that strong belief that farmers and ranchers who are doing the right thing on the ground need to have some incentive to do so, continue to do so and do more. So I think there will be some opportunities for farmers and ranchers to make money, sequestering carbon or doing a lot of different things that they're probably already doing some of it or even most of it, and I think there's going to be some great opportunities there as we move forward through the rest of this Congress and into the next one. Dusty Weis: Neil, you've put together the podcast calendar here with a list of episodes. Which episode are you most excited about recording in hearing in the next couple of months? Neil Caskey: Well as a beer drinker, I would have to say that it's probably our next podcast is going to provide a behind the scenes look at what all went down during the great corn travesty of 2019. Jon, we lived that out in a hotel 20 miles down the road from Golden, Colorado where the beer wars, I guess some referred to it as and we're going to look at that and some of the implications that we might see down the road and that, we're going to have joining us, obviously Jon and I are going to be there talking with you, Dusty, but we're going to have our current president, Kevin Ross who has been described and I quote that as an "internet sensation" for his role during the Super Bowl. So yes. We won't refer to Kevin that way when he's in the room that wouldn't be right. Neil Caskey: Hey, we're also going to be... So Adam Collins, who is the Chief Communications Officer At Molson Coors. He led their response to that ad. We didn't know Adam until about 2:00 AM the next morning and he has really developed into a tremendous advocate for our organization and for corn farmers more importantly. So it will be fun to reenact, relive that moment with I guess some of the people that were really on the front lines of that. Jon, wouldn't you agree? Jon Doggett: Absolutely. That was about as much fun as we've had in quite some time and we had the right people in the right spots, we were in the right location, and sometimes it pays as much to be lucky as it does to be good. Dusty Weis: Well the fact that you guys are still standing after tangling with the world's largest macro brewer, Anheuser Busch and the Bud Light brand is a testament to the fact that it's a fantastic story and I can't wait to tell that one. Folks will have to tune into episode two to hear how you guys went to battle with Bud Light. Dusty Weis: We're doing a podcast, you both wind up spending a lot of time on the road. So outside of this show, what are some of the podcasts that you enjoy listening to? Jon Doggett: I listen to On Being with Krista Tippett. I don't know how to describe... It deals with a lot of spiritual issues. She'll have rabbis, she'll have Hindu priests and she covers the whole waterfront of different spiritual backgrounds and histories. Jon Doggett: The other one, I listen to a lot of old time radio, particularly Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel and Fort Laramie. Those are my favorite three old radio programs and I listen to podcasts with those and other old radio shows. Dusty Weis: Those are classics. They don't make them like that anymore. Jon Doggett: They don't. Dusty Weis: What about you Neil? Neil Caskey: A little different approach. I listen to two kinds. One, I am a huge fan of, I had to qualify, Olympic style wrestling. Jon wanted to know during the interview if you went on any of my social media properties, if you would find anything that I would regret and that would probably preclude my employment in the organization, and I said I was a wrestling fan, so you'd see a lot of posts about that and his eyebrow raised. That was the first time, certainly hasn't been the last time that his eyebrow has raised when I told him something, but- Dusty Weis: Was he smelling what the Rock was cooking? Neil Caskey: So to be clear, I am an Olympic style wrestling fan and most of the podcasts I listen to, I'm like one and two in this country, my brother is the other. But I also, if I'm not listening to Flow Radio Live, we'll plug for that, I listen to a Freakonomics radio Revisionist History. I love that just the whole field of behavioral economics. I love understanding why people do or just learning more about why people do the things that they do or believe the way that they believe. To me that's just fascinating to look at historic events or just things that we thought we understood and looking at it from a different point of view. I hope we do some of that here. I'm no behavioral economist. I don't think Jon is, but I hope that that's the type of depth that we can provide to the things that obviously the corn industry cares about. Dusty Weis: Well, we will be channeling our inner Malcolm Gladwell to really bring that across in the next episodes here, but we're winding down here and we've covered a lot of ground in this first episode and in laying out some of the issues that corn farmers will face in the next decade, it's pretty clear that there are some hurdles to overcome. In fact, sometimes it seems a little bit easy to just get down about the future and in a wallow, so I think it's worth ending on a positive here. What are some of the things that the corn industry should feel good about, Jon, as we head into 2020? Jon Doggett: I have heard one of our board members say, and I've repeated it a number of times, "If you haven't been on a corn farm in the last five years, you haven't been on a corn farm." What I think is so fascinating about this industry is the innovation and the adaptation of technologies. When I talk to folks on Capitol Hill and they have this preconceived notion about agriculture and they quote a lot of things from the '60s or '70s or '80s and I hold up my cellphone and say, "Well what is your cell phone look like in 1979?" "Well, I didn't have a cell phone in 1979." Well what did your cell phone look like 10 years ago?" "Well, it was such and such and such and such," and I said, "But you have a completely different cellphone now. Why did you get a new cell phone?" Jon Doggett: "Well, I've had four new cell phones in 10 years." "Well why is that?" "Because the technology keeps improving." And I said, "So why do you think that cellphones and technology that you're using as a consumer is moving faster than the technology we're using on farms and ranches?" When we take people who have not been exposed to agriculture to a farm and they start understanding that the equipment is running off GPS, that spray nozzles turn on and off when you get to the corners. The things that we're doing now would have been unbelievable even 30 years ago, and I think that's what's really so exciting, is that that technology is there on the farm. Our challenge now is to go ahead and take that innovation and that ability to adapt and take that to the other parts of agriculture, not just the production of the crop. Dusty Weis: Well, the show is called Wherever Jon May Roam. So Jon, where are you roaming in the first part of 2020? What's on the docket? Jon Doggett: Well, we just got back from Vietnam and Myanmar, fascinating trip, some great opportunities for the corn industry in those countries. Then next week the board will be holding their retreat in Chicago, which is going to give us an opportunity to talk about strategies for the future, not just six months down the road, but maybe 20 years down the road. I'll be going to Houston for the RFA meeting there, their annual meeting and then we're going to be at Commodity Classic at the end of February in San Antonio, Texas. That will be a very big event and we'll be very, very busy with that. Dusty Weis: Wow, you weren't kidding about that travel schedule. That is an opportunity to rack up a lot of frequent flyer points there. This has been a great opportunity for me to get to know the two of you. I'm sure that everybody listening feels the same right now. We're going to be doing monthly updates for this podcast and each episode is a new opportunity for our listeners to learn about an issue that impacts their bottom line and follow along with your adventures, Jon. So until the next time it's been great chatting with the both of you, gentlemen, safe travels and we'll talk to you soon. Jon Doggett: All right. Neil Caskey: Yeah. Thanks, Dusty. Looking forward to the next episode. Jon Doggett: This has been great and I've enjoyed it and we'll be talking soon. Dusty Weis: That is going to wrap up this edition of Wherever Jon May Roam, the National Corn Growers Association podcast. New Episodes arrive monthly, so make sure you subscribe in your favorite podcasting app and join us again soon. Visit to learn more or to sign up for the association's email newsletter. Wherever Jon May Roam is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and produced by Podcamp Media, branded podcast production for businesses, For the National Corn Growers Association, thanks for listening. I'm Dusty Weis.

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