The National Corn Growers Association has named Jon Doggett, a veteran lobbyist for the organization, as its new CEO. Doggett had been serving on an interim basis since August 1, but will now serve in a permanent capacity effective immediately.

Doggett has led NCGA’s Washington office since 2002 and was promoted to NCGA executive vice president in 2014. He credits a job repossessing farm equipment during the 1980s farm crisis as a formative experience in his views of farm policy, and given the tough times currently facing the agriculture industry, wants to prevent similar scenes from unfolding.

“I know that I singlehandedly and this organization singlehandedly can’t turn around the farm economy, but there’s a lot to be done,” Doggett said in an interview with Agri-Pulse. “I want to be part of the group that does everything I can to make sure that those tough times aren’t quite as tough and we mitigate it as much as we can.”

Doggett – who has also worked on Capitol Hill as well as with the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Public Lands Council – will be tasked with additional responsibilities beyond the policy portfolio he’s overseen for the last 16 years.

In a statement, NCGA President Kevin Skunes said Doggett’s “‘back to the basics’ and focused approach will be of key importance when it comes to refining our vision, goals, strategies and tactics, with the laser-focused goal of bringing profitability back to growing corn on the farm – by creating and increasing profitable demand for corn, as well as promoting and defending our way of life and the tools that enable economical corn farming.”

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Former NCGA CEO Chris Novak – who resigned to take a job leading CropLife America – was based in NCGA’s St. Louis office, but Doggett doesn’t plan to move. He says he’ll be “doing a lot of running things out of a suitcase” and spend time in both offices. His role leading NCGA’s Washington office is now open, and Doggett plans to give the staff there “what little management they need.”

“I have spent 16 years building what I think is the finest ag lobbying shop in Washington D.C., and it’s going to be real personal with me to find the very best person to take over that job, not only to keep the good things I’ve done so far but to make them even better,” Doggett said, acknowledging that he has “some people in mind” and that that he wants to fill that role “as soon as possible.”

As for goals in his new role, Doggett said he wants to build on established relationships with state corn grower affiliates, because he feels “that’s where those solutions are going to come from.”

Doggett said NCGA has also hired Neil Caskey as its new Vice President of Communications. Caskey previously spent time on Capitol Hill before joining the American Soybean Association and Osborn & Barr. Caskey will start at NCGA next month.

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