American Corn Growers Association endorses Obama

By Kris Bevill | August 04, 2008
Web exclusive posted August 26, 2008 at 3:02 p.m. CST

For only the second time since its formation in 1987, the American Corn Growers Association is publicly endorsing a presidential candidate. ACGA President Keith Bolin announced Aug. 22 the ACGA is supporting Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama.

"While (Republican presidential candidate) Sen. John McCain is a great man and a true hero, he has built a very pronounced and consistent record on agriculture and ethanol during his 22 years as a U.S. Senator, and it is perhaps the single most negative record of any senator," Bolin said. "When compared to Sen. Obama, who supports the expansion of renewable energy such as advanced ethanol, biodiesel and wind generated electricity, our decision was obvious."

ACGA Executive Director Pam Horwitz told Ethanol Producer Magazine that it's not typical for the association to endorse any candidate. The last public endorsement given by the ACGA was in the early 1990s.

Horwitz said it was the combination of the candidate's views and abilities combined with the urgent need for a change in administration that spurred the association to publicly support Obama. "Sen. Barack Obama has demonstrated that he is working for family farmers in support of agriculture through recent actions, for example when he voted for the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (the farm bill)," she said. "He's done a great job of reaching out to rural communities and those constituents," Horwitz continued, adding the ACGA feels Obama's efforts are honest and that he represents "the values of hard-working folks."

The ACGA is also "quite pleased with the selection" of Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., as Obama's vice presidential running mate, according to Horwitz.

The ACGA was formed in 1987 in response to what was viewed as poor corn grower representation during the 1985 farm bill debate. The association represents over 14,000 members in 35 states.

While other ethanol industry members have spoken to EPM to share their views on the presidential candidate's energy policies (see, the ACGA is the first organization in the ethanol industry to publicly endorse a candidate this election.