MAY 2013


(Posted Thu. May 30th, 2013)

 May 30:  The National Corn Growers Association announced the participants who will constitute the 27 th class of NCGA’s Leadership at Its Best Program, co-sponsored by Syngenta. This year’s class includes 19 aspiring leaders from 11 states, from as far east as New York and as far west as Colorado.

“Leadership at Its Best has trained strong, confident volunteers who have helped shape the industry through their subsequent service at the state and national level,” said NCGA President Pam Johnson, who completed the class in 2006. “We’re excited to see such great interest in the program and strongly believe the quality of the applicants bodes well for the future of our industry. NCGA depends upon grassroots leadership, and, as a graduate of the program, I personally understand the important role this program plays in helping develop the skills and build the relationships necessary to lead such a dynamic organization in an ever-changing environment.”

This year’s Leadership at Its Best Class includes: Les Anderson (Minn.); James Burg (S.D.); Ann Cross (Colo.); Ray Dean (N.Y); Don Duvall (Ill.); Chris Edgington (Iowa); Chuck Emanuel (Neb.); Philip Gordon (Mich.); Rick Gruber (Neb.); Ken Hartman Jr. (Ill.); Scott Hays (Mo.); Gail Leirer (Ohio); Patty Mann (Ohio); Randy Melvin (N.D.); Jerry Mohr (Iowa); Thomas Mueller (Ill.); Brad Schad (Mo.); Mark Sponsler (Colo.); and Harold Wolle (Minn.).

While open to all members, NCGA suggests that states have their incoming checkoff board and grower association leaders attend, though states can submit others. The first session addresses personal communications, public speaking skills, media training and association management. The second session addresses public policy issues, working with the Hill and parliamentary procedure. The program is designed to equip graduates with the tools they need to be effective leaders in their state associations and on national action teams and committees.

Since 1986, the National Corn Growers Association, the state corn associations and, most importantly, the U.S. corn industry, have benefited tremendously from the Leadership At Its Best Program. More than 550 growers have gained invaluable media, communications, association management and public policy knowledge and skills from the program.

As a measure of the impact of this program and its importance to NCGA and its current effectiveness as an organization, one only need consider the Class of 2002. Those 20 growers include five current or former Corn Board members—including two past presidents—and five action team members. Leadership at Its Best has been a vital leadership incubator for honing the skills of state leaders on “the way up” and stimulating further involvement in and greater commitment from state growers to NCGA.