If Miles Kuhn could have three wishes as president of the American Forage and Grassland Council, he'd probably wish AFGC had a broader image, more members and lots of money.
Started as a committee in 1944, this organization today has a three-tiered membership of producers, private industry and the academic community that totals more than 2,500. Its current image, says Kuhn, a forage agronomist for FFR Cooperative, needs boosting.
“One of the negatives we sometimes hear is that our organization's membership is all located east of the Mississippi. That's not really a fair shot,” he says. “We have affiliates in five states west of the Mississippi with a potential of four more joining this year.” To broaden its geography and scope, AFGC has orchestrated joint meetings with the Society for Range Management.
“Currently, we have 20 affiliates, and some very strong affiliates,” he says. To keep affiliates strong, AFGC is offering administrative help at breakeven costs. “We are finding that the organizations that are struggling with membership and people to run them are jumping all over that.”
Kuhn would also like to see people's perceptions of AFGC broaden. “Some people think we just deal with grazing — we deal with all forages.”
Also on the wish list: to see more young people at the annual conference. Finding money for university students to attend the summer meeting and participate in the annual forage contests is challenging.
AFGC has been considering a change from one three-day annual conference in mid-June to a late-winter meeting followed by a fall field tour/meeting. The meeting content, however, will continue to be current and informative, Kuhn says.
“We're working hard to make sure we do get what's new and exciting going on in the forage industry. We're full of people who have a passion for the forage industry; I think that's why this organization continues to move forward — because of the people.”
For details, visit www.afgc.org.