(Posted Thu. Sep 11th, 2014)

As farmers begin harvest preparations 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 fifth class this week in Minneapolis, Minn. The session helps qualified and motivated candidates fine-tune their leadership skills and prepare them to lead the industry forward. 


"Advanced Leadership training provides our experienced leaders an effective program through which they can further enhance their skills for national leadership,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre, a grower from Carmi, Ill.  “I had the chance to participate in the program two years ago and can personally confirm the program helps leaders climb to the top of their game and prepares them to lead our organization into 2015 and beyond." 


During the course, the class of six active grower leaders looked at issue management strategies, trends in corn production inputs and refined their advocacy communications skillset.  The group also discussed 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 Rex Martin, the firm’s head of external 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 Doug Albin (Minn.); Brent Hostetler (Ohio); Les Imboden (Ohio); Jim Reed (Ill.); Jeff Sandborn (Mich.); and Roger Zylstra (Iowa).


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 2014-15 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.