By Jean Caspers-Simmet

CHARLES CITY, Iowa — Chuck Pyatt scoffs when asked about the Hero of American Agriculture Award he received at the recent American Corn Growers National Convention in Moline, Ill.

"It’s a formality to make the old guys feel good," he said with a grin.

His plaque recognizes "his tireless and loyal service, dedication, and integrity," and his commitment to keeping family farmers on the land."


Pyatt, 78, says the organization he helped start is right on track with its policy. In the 1980s — a tough time for farmers — Pyatt, who raised corn and soybeans near Greene, read an article about Carl King, president of the Texas Corn Growers Association.

"He was disgruntled with the position the National Corn Growers Association was taking on farm bills," Pyatt said. "He, David Senter, also from Texas, and John Ford, deputy secretary of agriculture in the Reagan administration, were all disgruntled. Ford resigned, and they helped start the American Corn Growers Association."

Pyatt contacted King.

"I told him farm organizations were just carrying water for agribusiness," Pyatt said. "We met, and I got involved in the American Corn Growers Association."

What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.