Ray Thorn, Jr., (center)
First-ever Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) President Ray Thorn, Jr., passed away last week at the age of 75. Thorn will always be remembered by MCGA as a driving force behind uniting Minnesota corn growers to form the organization.
Thorn, who farmed just north of Mankato, led the first organized meeting with MCGA members in June 1978 attended by more than 150 corn growers. Thorn was an active voice in raising awareness of the need for corn farmers to take a role in helping market their commodity.
“The thing the farmer has failed to do is sell his own product,” Thorn said in a May 1978 issues of The Land. “He takes a load of corn to the elevator, and beyond that, it’s left to someone else. It’s time farmers get involved.”
At the June 27 meeting, Thorn was elected president by 18 board members. During the infancy stages of MCGA, he was a pivotal figure in growing the organization’s membership and the need for a state check-off. At the time, only four states nationwide had a check-off program.
“Ray spent a great deal of time working on behalf of the corn growing industry in Minnesota. He drove tens of thousands of miles promoting MCGA and the corn check-off,” Former Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council member Jerry Ploehn said. “His efforts benefited many corn farmers. We are the recipient of his efforts still today.”
You can read Thorn’s obituary here.