(Posted Thu. Aug 11th, 2016)

Growers gathered in Greensboro, N.C. this week for the first session of the NCGA Leadership Academy, co-sponsored by Syngenta. This year’s class includes 18 aspiring leaders from 11 states. Upon completion of the program in January, the participants will join more than 500 colleagues who have graduated from this program in the past 30 years.


At the meeting, participants got an up-close look at NCGA from First Vice President Wesley Spurlock, a Leadership Academy alumnus. Spurlock also provided an insightful examination of the main issues facing the association, and the nation’s corn farmers, today.


The farmers attending took part in media training and public speaking exercises as well as association management skill building. In addition, the class enjoyed a look at the future trends that will impact the industry and a comprehensive economic forecast given by futurist Bob Treadway. Including presentations focused on communicating in today’s ADD world and a deep dive into how personalities impact interactions, the training provided not only tools but insight into how they can be applied most effectively.


“As a Leadership Academy graduate, I have a deep appreciation for the confidence and skills attendees develop in such a short time,” Spurlock said. “The Syngenta speakers, as well as the many outside experts brought in, have an incredible ability to hone in on precisely what will be most beneficial for our participants.


“As NCGA’s First Vice President, I am excited to see new leaders who want to take on an active role in the association. When these volunteers come together, you can feel their commitment to the industry. It is heartening to know that such strong farmer leaders will carry on our mission well into the future.”


This year’s Leadership at Its Best Class includes: Duane Aistrope (Iowa); Jayne Dalton (Wis.); Sarah Delbecq (Ind.); Deb Gangwish (Neb.); Patricia Geerdes (Minn.); Jeff Gormong (Ind.); Brent Hoerr (Mo.); Mike Lefever (Colo.); William Leigh (Ill.); Stacy Mayo (Kan.); Lawrence Onweller (Ohio); Mark Recker (Iowa.); Betty Skunes (N.D); Randall Small (Kan.); Clint Stephens (Mo.); Roger Sy (Ill.); Scott Winslow (Minn.); and Josh Yoder (Ohio).


Open to all NCGA membership, Leadership at Its Best provides training to interested volunteers of all skill levels.  The second session, which will be held this March in Washington, addresses public policy issues, working with the Hill and parliamentary procedure.  Through this program, participants build the skill set needed to become a more confident public speaker with a solid background in the procedures and processes used by NCGA and many state organizations.


Since 1986, the National Corn Growers Association, the state corn associations and, most importantly, the U.S. corn industry, have benefited tremendously from the Syngenta co-sponsored Leadership At Its Best Program.  Participants must be registered members of NCGA.