Grower Leaders Hone Skills in Nation’s Capital

January 31, 2019

Grower Leaders Hone Skills in Nation’s Capital

Jan 31, 2019

Author: Cathryn Wojcicki

Corn farmers from across the country traveled to Washington this week to take part in the second phase of the annual leadership development programs co-sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association and Syngenta. While in town, the group visited numerous congressional leaders and got an inside look at parliamentary procedure and how lobbying works on Capitol Hill.


“For three decades, the Leadership At Its Best program has played an important role in helping corn growers become leaders at the state and national level,” said Kevin Ross, NCGA’s current first vice president and a LAIB graduate himself. “In Washington, our farmer leaders saw firsthand how decisions made in our nation’s capital impact us all back on our farms. Using the skills developed here, these farmer leaders effective, compelling voices will concretely benefit NCGA and all its farmer members through their current and future endeavors.”


The Leadership At Its Best class received briefings on the issues facing America’s farmers in the coming year followed by presentations from lobbyist and Hill staffer panels explaining how the lobbying process functions in Washington, D.C. to get the best result from interaction with members of Congress and their staff. They then had the opportunity to see the process in action during a series of visits with congressional leaders. Additionally, the group participated in parliamentary procedure training with NCGA Parliamentarian Chris Dickey.


This class of NCGA’s Advanced Leadership program, also co-sponsored by Syngenta, joined their counterparts in Washington for a second session as well. In addition to exploring important topical briefings from staff, the group underwent extensive, high-level media training and explored “A Day in the Life of a Lobbyist.” This program, which builds upon the skill set developed through Leadership At Its Best, has played an integral role in developing top-notch association leadership.


This year’s Leadership At Its Best Class includes: Stuart Sanderson (Ala.); Jeremy Fix (Colo.), Randall Wegner (Colo.); Jim Greif (Iowa); Martin Marr (Ill.); Jim Roesner (Ind.); Kaitlin Donovan (Kan.); Matthew Splitter (Kan.); Steve Rome (Kan.); Mark Roberts (Ky.); John Bruning Jr. (Md.); Brandon Fast (Minn.); Scott Winslow (Minn.); Brian Lehman (Mo.); Jason Hull (Mo.); Jean Henning (N.D.); Terry Wehlander (N.D.); Bert Ring (Texas); Mark Hoffmann (Wis.); Mike Berget (Wis.); and Sara Schoenborn (Wis.).


The current Advanced Leadership Program includes: Duane Aistrope (Iowa); Kevin Ross (Iowa); Dennis McNinch (Kan.); and Deb Gangwish (Neb.)


Phase One of Leadership At Its Best took place in August and included sessions on media training, public speaking, advocacy and meeting management.