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A changing of the guard in corn industry

Staff writer

Marion County will continue to have a member on the Kansas Corn Commission. Derek Belton of Tampa recently was elected to replace Terry Vinduska of Marion. Vinduska retired after 29 years.

The state is divided into nine crop-reporting districts. The central district that Belton will represent comprises eight counties. He had to get approval from producers in all eight counties to apply for a commission seat.

A 2003 graduate of Centre High School, Belton worked as an agronomy and engineering consultant for Kansas Livestock Association after graduating from Kansas State University.

He decided to return to his family’s farm part-time and has been a full-time farmer since 2018. He and his father, Ed, have a cow/calf operation and are in crop production.

Belton wants to learn more about corn produced in Kansas and how it is promoted after it leaves the farm. He got involved in KLA’s young farmer program and graduated from a leadership course called Kansas Corn Corp.

In January, he went on an international trade mission sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council to Central and South America.

In Panama, he sat on an international panel of producers. In Colombia, the group visited a privately-owned feed mill. Group members visited a fuel-mixing station where Colombian petroleum was blended with Kansas ethanol. They also toured a dairy where corn was the main feed ingredient.

“It was interesting to learn how dependent Colombia is on the United States for corn,” Belton said. “The majority of it comes from the U.S.”

Belton will begin a three-year term April 1.

Corn producers contribute a penny to the commission from every bushel they sell. The commission determines how the check-off money is spent, including market development, education, promotion, and research.

The commission seeks to strengthen and expand foreign and domestic markets for “corn in all forms.” This includes building markets for corn, red meat, ethanol, distiller’s grain, and other corn products.

“I’m still learning about my new role,” Belton said. “I’m thankful that I know Vinduska. He can help me.”

Last modified March 23, 2023

 

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