After receiving a first-ever national award for distinguished and visionary agricultural leadership, Ray Gaesser, Republican candidate for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Southwest Iowa REC Member-Owner, has returned to Iowa to file the official paperwork for his candidacy. Ray Gaesser was the inaugural recipient of the American Soybean Association’s (ASA’s) Distinguished Leadership Award, presented at the ASA Awards Banquet in Anaheim, California at the Commodity Classic. Also while at the Commodity Classic, Gaesser served as a panelist at the 2018 AgVocacy Forum, the annual, national thought-leadership event that presents highly regarded leaders in technology, food, government and agriculture. These leaders are identified as sharing the common goal of achieving sustainable food production for the world’s growing population.
Gaesser, an Iowa farmer known worldwide for his agricultural innovations, pioneering conservation stewardship and volunteer global leadership, announced his candidacy in mid-January. Since then, he has gathered more than 2,705 signatures from across the state. Gaesser expresses his gratitude,” Our friends from all over Iowa have shared my message and secured many more signatures than required. We gathered signatures from 94 counties in seven weeks. I’ve been blessed with many letters and words of support and encouragement as I crisscross our state listening and sharing my message that strong and healthy farms, build strong and healthy communities. I am confident that with my expertise and experience, Iowa can count on responsible and profitable agriculture continuing as the core of our economy.”
Gaesser is renowned for his pioneering conservation over nearly three decades. Long before others undertook these practices, Gaesser already was voluntarily mentoring others on how to serve as environmental stewards. Gaesser Farms, with its 6,050 acres, is nearly 100% no-till with 50% in cover crops (with a goal of 100%), along with 15 miles of terraces and waterways and has achieved some 70% grain dryer energy reduction and many other energy and fuel efficiencies via GPS and other best practices.
With a focus on innovation and collaboration, Gaesser’s goals as Secretary of Iowa Agriculture, include:
Gaesser began farming at the early age of 15 to support his mother and six younger siblings after his father passed away 50 years ago. Today, after 40 years in Iowa, Gaesser, his wife Elaine and son Chris, an agronomist, remain hands-on farmers. They own 650 acres and rent or custom farm approximately 5,400 acres near Corning in Adams County, growing soybeans and corn. On their 6,050-acre farm, they grow 3,000 acres in corn for a nearby ethanol plant while most of their 3,000 acres of soybeans are seed production for the Stine Seed Company. Their daughter Jennifer is a school music teacher and rents another 165 acres with her brother, Chris.
Southwest Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit electric cooperative.
Pictured: Sherill Whisenand, Iowa Secretary of State’s Office and Ray Gaesser, Republican Candidate for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture