(Posted Wed. Apr 20th, 2016)
In 2015, the National Corn Growers Association launched the Reaching for Excellence award. Developed through the Grower Services Action Team, this award spotlights new approaches to challenges state corn grower associations face and brings forth creative solutions others in similar solutions might find helpful. While the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association took home the award during Commodity Classic in March, NCGA received six excellent submissions which all offer innovative new solutions.
The Texas Corn Producers built the Leadership, Activism, Networking and Development Program on those very principles. LAND is a weekend-long commitment for young farm couples in Texas. Participants include those who have recently returned to the farm, or have begun a new farm business, and are looking to expand their roles on and off the farm.
Many of the program’s participants were previously active in high school or collegiate programs focused on engaging youth in the industry such as 4-H and FFA. While many states also host leadership programs, many target more mature farmers with leadership experience in their professional lives. LAND fills the void between educational programs and more advanced programs for professionals, reigniting the excitement for playing an active role in agriculture beyond the farm. Not only does it offer a wonderful learning opportunity to young farmers, it allows them a time to focus on their future leadership goals away from the hectic backdrop of the life of beginning farmers.