The Honorable Larry Combest
Larry Combest was elected to Congress (R-TX) in 1985, where he served for 10 straight terms, winning each re-election with ever increasing margins. While in Congress, he served on both the House Committee on Agriculture and the Small Business Committee for his entire tenure in Congress. He also served on the Permanent Committee on Intelligence for eight years. He was chairman of the Agricultural Committee, vice chairman of the Small Business Committee and the ranking member and chairman of the Intelligence Committee.
Combest was the chief architect and negotiator on the 2002 Farm Security and Rural Investment Act (the 2002 farm bill) and directed the Agricultural Risk Protection Act, which included the most significant improvements to the Federal Crop Insurance Act in its 67-year history. His reputation as a one of the most bi-partisan members of Congress allowed him to reach across the aisle to pass much needed legislation.
Combest was raised in West Texas on a farm that his family operated for four generations. He was a small business owner and served briefly as director of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture before being elected to Congress. He holds a B.B.A from West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M University) and multiple honorary degrees. He is currently a partner at the consulting firm Combest, Sell & Associates, LLC.
Andrew C. Quinn
Andy Quinn is a corn and ethanol producer in Litchfield, MN. He has owned and operated a farm in Litchfield for more than 42 years.
Quinn currently serves as a board member for Bushmills Ethanol, a farmer-owned cooperative that began in 2005. The cooperative consists of 415 farmers who produce roughly 49 million gallons of ethanol per year. Quinn has been instrumental in the ethanol industry, helping to form American Coalition for Ethanol and actively supporting legislation to fund the Minnesota Ethanol Commission.
Prior to Bushmills, Quinn served as a member of the board of directors for Minnesota Corn Growers Association, the U.S. Grains Council and the National Corn Growers Association. He has also served as chairman of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association's government relations committee.
Linda C. Raun
Linda Raun is a member of the Rice Producers Group executive committee and is the Texas Rice Producers Group representative for the USA Rice Federation.
Raun and her husband L.G. have been involved in the rice industry for more than 33 years. Together, they produce 2,000 acres of conventional rice annually. In addition, Raun and her husband grow, package and market specialty rice under their own brand name, Lowell Farms. They live in El Campo, TX.
Raun is the recipient of several industry awards, including the 2006 Outstanding AG Man of the Year, the 1998 Rice Farmer of the Year, and the 1991 Farm & Ranch Award for "Texas' Best in Rice."
Lowell G. Raun, Jr.
"LG" Raun is chairman of the Texas Rice Producers legislative group and a board member for the US Rice Producers Association. In addition, he serves as the rice representative for the Texas Ag Council, the Southwest Council on Agribusiness and the Texas Rice Industry Coalition for the Environment.
Raun's involvement in shaping agriculture policy is borne 33 years of full-time rice production. "LG" Raun is a third generation rice farmer from El Campo, TX. In addition to farming more than 2,000 acres of rice annually, he and his wife Linda own and operate Lowell Farms-a business that packages and markets specialty rice. The business has grown over the last 20 years to encompass grocery and mail order sales nationwide.
Raun is also an active member in the community on the issue of water quality. He serves on several water planning groups both locally and statewide.
John C. Thaemert
John Thaemert is a lifelong resident of Sylvan Grove, Kan., where he lives with his wife of more than 25 years, Shelley, and their two children, Rachel and James.
The Thaemerts are owners/operators of JT Farms, Inc. Their operation includes the production and marketing of wheat, grain sorghum, soybeans, alfalfa, grass hay and straw as well as a forage and freight brokerage business.
In addition, John is a Certified Financial Planner designee and a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor, having worked in the financial services industry since 1986. He currently serves as vice president and trust officer for Citizens State Bank & Trust Co. in Ellsworth, Kan.
John served for five years on the officer corps of the National Association of Wheat Growers, including as president in 2007. Prior to that, John chaired NAWG's Domestic Policy Committee and served as a member of NAWG's Budget Committee. He is also a past officer of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, having served as president in 2003.
Among his many other volunteer activities, John is also a director of the Kansas Bankers Association's trust division; a past president of the Lincoln County Farm Bureau; a past chairman of the Lincoln County Republican Central Committee; and a past president of Bethlehem Lutheran Church of Sylvan Grove.
John holds a bachelor's of science in business and agriculture from Fort Hays State University.
Steven C. Verett
Steve Verett is executive vice president of Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. and a member of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Committee in Lubbock, TX
Verett started a farming partnership with his brother Eddie in 1976. Today, that partnership has grown to include Steve's son Kristofer, his nephew Heath, and a handful of dedicated employees. Their 3,500-acre farm in Ralls, TX produces cotton, wheat, grain, sorghum, and sunflowers.
Verett has been an active member of the cotton community for more than 20 years, serving various positions with the National Cotton Council, Cotton Council International, USDA Cotton Marketing Advisory Committee, and the Farm Bureau.