The 2017 class of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program, now entering its fourth year of helping farming couples and individuals become better communicators, leaders, and advocates for agriculture, held its first session last week in Johnston, Iowa.
"We're pleased to see this important program continue for a fourth year with DuPont's generous support," said Pam Johnson, NCGA past president and a corn grower from Iowa. "NCGA has always believed that farmers themselves are the best leaders and spokespersons for agriculture, and this program is designed in particular for men and women just getting started in visible roles in the ag industry."
Johnson, who was present for the first New Leaders Program class, again represented NCGA. This first step in NCGA's leadership ladder involved workshops with interactive sessions designed to increase confidence in public speaking and greater understanding of the legislative process, including work in social media advocacy and state-level association engagement. Also during this first session, participants heard from Pioneer leadership on a vast array of scientific advances, including the use of CRISPR-Cas technology in agriculture.
This year, 31 participants representing 12 states are involved in the program. Participating this year are: Alec and Rachel Amundson, Iowa; Joseph Barlow III, Va.; Lamont Bridgeforth, Ala.; Nathan Brinkmann, Ill.; John Bruning Jr., Md.; Daniel Carpenter, Mo.; Tyler Everett, Ind.; Wesley Graham, Miss.; Hagan and Beckah Hunt, Texas; Tyler and Terra James, Texas; Shane King, Md.; Justin and Christy Koehler, Neb.; Tim and Mia Kozojed, N.D.; Kate Lambert, Mo.; Mark Reif, Mich.; Michael and Jessica Strasburger, Ind.; Brett and Krista Swanson, Ill.; Chet and Maria Vander Velde, Iowa; Ty and Sarah Whittington, Ohio; and Joshlin and Addie Yoder, Mo.
The New Leaders Program is implemented in three phases, with two plenary sessions: in Iowa last week and at Commodity Classic in Anaheim, California in February of 2018. Between these sessions, participants will take part in regularly scheduled policy and issue-specific webinars. They are also asked to take part in communications or other programs at the state and national level.
At these sessions, participants will gain knowledge of communications and leadership skills and many of the top issues confronting American corn growers. They also will have the opportunity to see our farmer leaders in action during agriculture's premier trade show.