With January marking the conclusion of his tenure as Texas Corn Producers Board chairman, Robert Gordon reflects on the achievements during his years of leadership, while also looking ahead to what the future holds for the checkoff board.

“It was truly an honor to serve these guys as their chairman,” Gordon says. “I had the opportunity to meet a lot of good people and do a lot of good things.”

Multiple successful projects have come to fruition during his 6-year tenure as chairman of the checkoff board.

“Our success truly came from the whole board, we did several really cool projects together,” Gordon says. “It’s been great to see our hard work come to life.”

Corn in the Classroom

During Gordon’s term, TCPB launched its successful youth education program: Corn in the Classroom. The Pre-K through 5th grade curriculum meets Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), while providing kids with an awareness of farming and the food production process. Students’ educational demands are met by engaging, hands-on sessions that introduce them to agriculture through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).


TCPB continues to make investments in major innovations such as the “next generation” atoxigenic for corn, FourSureTM. Aflatoxin contamination can be threatening to corn and can result in significant loss for corn farmers. TCPB saw the need to mitigate this risk years ago as it worked to research, develop and make available single-strain Aspergillus flavus (A. flavus). During Gordon’s term, TCPB-funded research efforts have built upon the previous tool and created a stronger tool for farmers that is now available for use in Texas. FourSure’s multi-pronged strategy to stop aflatoxin development has the potential to protect a farmer’s investments made in their corn crop. Learn more about FourSure .

Fertilizer Prices

With Gordon as chairman, TCPB funded a study over skyrocketing fertilizer prices, performed by the Ag and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University (AFPC). As South Texas farmers were seeing an astonishing 264% increase in the cost of nitrogen fertilizer in just over two years, TCPB saw the need to work with other state corn organizations to advocate against these tariffs: pooling resources, funding studies, and actively ensuring the farmer’s perspective was emphasized.

TCPB worked to share the findings from the study alongside partnering organizations. They found that fertilizer costs tend to go

up when corn revenues increase. The analysis also revealed that almost 75% of the nation’s nitrogen fertilizer production is controlled by four corporations. The study suggests that the relationship between the price of nitrogen fertilizer and corn could nod to the rising demand for nitrogen products when corn prices rise, but it could also be the result of makers of nitrogen products using their market power.

These efforts came to life with the U.S. International Trade Commission’s (ITC) ruling against imposing tariffs. If even a portion of the additional $13.89 to $27.79 per acre spent by corn farmers until the ITC ruling eliminated impending tariffs, corn farmers have more than made back any investment with their TCP checkoff and membership dollars.

NRCS Fundamentals of Conservation & Sustainability in Agriculture Certification

During Gordon’s term, TCPB has also partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to build the NRCS fundamentals of Conservation & Sustainability in Agriculture Certification that is now available through iCEV. Through iCEV’s online educational and training platform, the certification provides students and adult learners with exceptional knowledge of conservation and sustainability relating to soil, water, plants, air, and animals. Across the state, forty teachers are receiving sponsorships from TCPB and NRCS to integrate this certification in their classrooms – enabling at least 25 students from each classroom to earn the certification. Beyond this initial roll out, educators across the nation also have access to lead this certification in their classrooms through iCEV.

Robert Gordon (left) passes the TCPB chairman’s gavel to Aaron Martinka (right)

Gordon says he was proud to serve as the chairman. On top of these accomplishments, Gordon says he enjoyed opportunities to make several contacts and partnerships with other states.

“A lot of others look up to TCPB for many reasons, that’s something I am really proud of,” Gordon says.

There are things he says he is going to miss while serving as the chairman. Gordon says he always enjoyed working so closely with the staff and the interaction with other states that you get to do as a chairman. As his term ends, he says is still excited for his role on the board and for the future of TCPB.

“I am excited to watch the younger board members step up in leadership roles and be a part of their progress,” Gordon says.

Gordon says that he is proud that there are several younger leaders on the board, and he is ready to see the work of previous chairmen and board members continue as the next generation starts to step into these roles.

“There are a lot of good things coming from the Texas Corn Producers Board,” Gordon says. “I predict their success will continue as the next group of leaders step up.”

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