The North Dakota Grain Growers Association recently held its annual meeting in conjunction with the 2017 Prairie Grains Conference in Grand Forks. In addition to voting on resolutions for 2018, the NDGGA elected a new president, Jeff Mertz of Hurdsfield, first vice president, Ed Kessel of Dickinson, second vice president, Tom Bernhardt of Linton and secretary/treasurer, Ryan Ellis of Williston.

Mertz says he’s excited for the opportunity to represent the interests of North Dakota farmers on the upcoming Farm Bill. “Our number one priority is to protect crop insurance,” Mertz said. “Especially with the year we just had with the drought out west, there are a lot of guys that wouldn’t be able to farm next year without crop insurance protections.”

First on the agenda for the new leadership is the annual National Association of Wheat Growers Winter Conference in February in Washington. Mertz says the Farm Bill will be the main topic of discussion. “In addition to protecting crop insurance, we are going to focus on protecting ARC and PLC payments and work to ensure the correct data is used to calculate those payments,” he said. “We’re also going to fight to expand the MAP and FMD programs to ensure viable markets for North Dakota crops.”