The NCGA Leadership Academy, part of Syngenta’s Leadership At Its Best program (LAIB), has trained grower leaders since 1986.  Preparing these corn association and checkoff  leaders to deliver the high level of service necessary for corn associations to achieve their goals and for the corn sector to lead American agriculture is vital for our association.

LAIB is designed as an opportunity for association leaders, especially those new to leadership roles, to enhance skills necessary for establishing an organization vision, energizing members and representing the organization to the public and to policy makers.


This leadership program is divided into two sessions – summer (August) and winter (January).

The summer program rotates between Minneapolis, MN and Greensboro, NC and includes site visits to Syngenta facilities where the participants meet and interact with company leaders.  This session focuses on:  



“Great opportunity to learn, be challenged and to network.  Thanks so very much!”    

Paul Taylor 



  • Organizational mission and priorities. Association leaders emphasize communication and public policy initiatives aimed at improving the operational and economic success of the organization’s members.


  • Effective association leadership. Participants examine techniques and practices that help leaders build teams, inspire vision and motivate members to accomplish goals.


  • Business Etiquette for Leaders.  How you present yourself is as important as what you say.  Understand trends in business attire, avoiding the appearance of gender bias, and the differences between business etiquette and etiquette which is more appropriate for social situations.


  • Interpersonal Communication Styles. By understanding how to identify communication style preferences—their own as well as others’—leaders develop ways to adapt the way they communicate to styles that will keep channels open with any one they need to work with.


  • Energized Public Speaking. Leaders develop audience-focused speaking skills designed to get the speaker’s message heard and retained.


  • Communicating Through News Media.  Participants learn to develop and deliver messages in ways that create the best opportunity for those messages to be part of the story.


The winter session of LAIB is held in Washington, DC the following January (except in presidential inaugural years).  While in the nation’s capital, the students get a strong dose of politics, public policy and grassroots advocacy. Their agenda includes:


  • Issue briefing from NCGA lobbyists
  • Lobbying their congressional delegation;
  • Meeting with key legislative staff and agriculture leaders in the administration.


Program Calendar



Session 1: August 7-11, 2017 – Minneapolis, MN 

Session 2: January 28–31, 2018 – Washington, DC



Session 1: August 6 – 10, 2018 Greensboro / Research Triangle Park, NC

Session 2:  January 27 – 30, 2019 Washington, DC



How to Apply

States are encouraged to send their grower association vice-president/president and/or their checkoff chair/vice-chair to participate in the NCGA Leadership Academy. However, participation is open to other grower leaders at the state’s discretion.

Applicants must be an NCGA member to qualify and should not have already participated in Leadership Academy or a Syngenta Leadership At Its Best program for another Ag association—those individuals are encouraged to apply for NCGA’s Advanced Leadership program. 


 Download the Leadership at its Best Application



Please direct questions and completed applications to National Corn Growers Association, 632 Cepi Dr., Chesterfield, MO 63005, Fax: 636/733-9005, Attn: Steve Uram/Vickie Darland.