AWJON News) - A local broadcaster is halfway through his term as the President of the National Farm Broadcasters Association.

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Albany-based Joe Gill was elected to the position in January.

It is an election process where you're elected by your membership. There's voting at our annual convention in Kansas City that's held every November. In the past, I've served in other roles on the board to work my way up the ladder.

Gill has experience in agriculture, growing up on a dairy farm near Albany. His brother still milks cows, so he says he is plugged into Central Minnesota Agriculture, but sometimes has to research farming issues from other parts of the nation.

If I have to talk sugar beets and canola, I'm in trouble. What makes this area unique is Stearns County is still the biggest dairy county in the state and ranks pretty high on the national level. Minnesota is number one in Turkey and poultry. So that makes us unique. We have members that are in the Carolinas and Texas and they talk a lot about cotton and I have no idea what that is or even what the market is for that.

Gill says the N-A-F-B is focused on the new farm bill making its way through Congress, as well as the Waters of the U.S. rules and the next generation of farm broadcasters.

I know that a lot of folks nowadays don't want to get up at 4:00 in the morning or 4:30 in the morning and go to the station. It's a bit of a throwback position to some, so we have to broaden our mindset and how to incorporate the needs of the next generation. They're there. I think there's a lot of competition for them in other avenues of communication that may draw them away.

Gill says there are over 880 members in the N-A-F-B. The on-air personality division is the smallest, with other divisions for station managers and salespeople, and the allied industry segment that contains communication workers in ag-related companies like Cargill and CHS.

Right now, the membership is focused on a new farm bill passing Congress. The current farm bill is expected to expire in September.


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