Growers are gathered today in Greensboro, N.C. for the first session of the NCGA Leadership Academy, co-sponsored by Syngenta. This year's class includes 16 aspiring leaders from 10 states and covers a broad swath of the nation with participants from as far east as New York and as far west as Colorado. Upon completion of the program in January, the participants will join more than 500 colleagues who have graduated from this program in the past 28 years.
At the meeting, participants got an up-close look at NCGA from President Martin Barbre, a Leadership Academy alumnus. Barbre 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. Finally, the class received a behind-the-scenes tour of Richard Childress Racing and heard how American Ethanol is benefitting NASCAR and driving consumer acceptance of higher blends of corn ethanol in the nation's fuel supply.
"As a Leadership Academy graduate, I have a deep appreciation for the confidence and skills attendees develop in such a short time, and of the ability of Syngenta and other presenters to hone in on what is most needed," Barbre said. "As NCGA 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: Matt Amick (MO); Russell Carpenter (N.Y.); Ann Cross (Colo.); Justin Durdan (Ill.); Kurtis Gregory (Mo.); Mark Heckman (Iowa); Bob Hemesath (Iowa); Noah Hultgren (Minn.); Paul Jeschke (Ill.); Andy Jobman (Neb.); Greg Krissek (Kan.); Jon Miller (Ohio); Ted Mottaz (Ill.); Danny Nerud (Neb.); Scott Saucer (Ala.); and Dennis Vennekotter (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 Januaryin 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 Syngentaco-sponsored Leadership At Its Best Program. Participants must be registered members of NCGA.