(Posted Fri. Aug 10th, 2018)
Growers gathered in Raleigh, N.C. earlier this week for the first session of the NCGA Leadership Academy, co-sponsored by Syngenta. This year’s class includes 21 aspiring leaders, one of the largest classes on record. Upon completion of the program in January, the participants will join more than 600 colleagues who have graduated from this program in the past 30 years.
This year’s class represents a new approach to collaboration for the program, including up-and-coming leaders both from the National Corn Growers Association and the American Soybean Association.
At the meeting, participants got an up-close look at NCGA from President Kevin Skunes, a Leadership Academy alumnus. Skunes 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 on a wide variety of topics including: the impacts of trade policies and tariffs on U.S. agriculture; GMO safety and labeling; animal welfare issues interaction with agriculture; water usage in farming; perceived impacts of pesticides and fertilizers on human health; the impact of agriculture on the environment, including on fish, other aquatic species and pollinators; farm bill and farm policy; immigrant labor in agriculture; ethanol and biodiesel; and the importance of ag association membership.
“As NCGA’s President, I am excited to see new leaders who want to take on an active role in the association,” said Skunes. “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: Mike Berget (Wis.); John Bruning Jr. (Md.); Kaitlin Donovan (Kan.); Brandon Fast (Minn.); Jeremy Fix (Colo.); Jim Greif (Iowa); Jean Henning (N.D.); Mark Hoffmann (Wis.); Jason Hull (Mo.); Brian Lehman (Mo.); Martin Marr (Ill.); Bert Ring (Texas); Mark Roberts (Ky.); James Roesner (Ind.); Steve Rome (Kan.); Stuart Sanderson (Ala.); Sara Schoenborn (Wis.); Matthew Splitter (Kan.); Terry Wehlander (Sargent N.D.); and Randall Wenger (Colo.).
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 January 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 and advocate with a solid background in the procedures and processes used by NCGA and many state organizations.
For more than 30 years, 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.