(Posted Wed. Sep 16th, 2015)

As farmers begin harvesting across the country, a select group of growers are ramping up their efforts to become the most effective leaders possible through a National Corn Growers Association training program. NCGA’s Advanced Leadership Training Program, sponsored by Syngenta, launched its sixth class this week in Greensboro, N.C. The session helps qualified and motivated candidates fine-tune their leadership skills and prepare them to lead the industry forward. 


"The Advanced Leadership program offers our experienced leaders an opportunity to further enhance their skills for national leadership,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a grower from Newburg, Md.  “I had the chance to participate in the program five years ago and can personally confirm the program helps leaders truly elevate their skillset, preparing them to lead our organization into 2016 and beyond." 


During the course, the class of four grower leaders will look at issue management strategies, explore trends in corn production inputs and refine their advocacy communications skillset.  The group began their program with a discussion of leadership challenges and successes and reviewed the concept of transformational leadership with Dr. Robert H. Moorman, a professor of business leadership at Elon University.


“Advanced Leadership continues Syngenta’s commitment to fostering effective leaders for corn and across agriculture,” said Todd Barlow, the company’s director of state affairs. “This program takes graduates of Leadership Academy who are presently in leadership roles to the next level, helping them become transformational leaders. They can take these enhanced skills back to improve their state and national associations and fellow leaders.”


Attending Advanced Leadership training this year are Christopher Edgington (Iowa); Tom Haag (Minn.); Gail Lierer (Ohio); and Rachel Vonderhaar (Ohio).


Since 1986, NCGA, the state corn associations and, more importantly, the U.S. corn industry, have benefited tremendously from the original Leadership at Its Best program.  The Advanced Leadership program, begun in 2009, similarly provides invaluable media, communications, association management and public policy knowledge and skills to its participants. For the 2015-16 Advanced Leadership class, states nominated up to two applicants, one as a primary candidate and one as an alternate. Nominees must be a member of NCGA, a graduate of Leadership at Its Best, and about to assume, or already in, a senior national or state leadership post.


In January, attendees will meet again for their second session, which covers lobbying and coalition building, advanced media training, public policy briefings and agency visits.