(Posted Wed. Jan 29th, 2014)
The National Corn Growers Association this week kicked off the inaugural class of its NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program, with farming couples and individuals from 17 states braving cold weather and travel snafus coming to Des Moines, Iowa, for an immersion in leadership, communications and social media training. The program is sponsored by DuPont, with representatives from DuPont Pioneer and DuPont Crop Protection on-hand to welcome the growers.
“There has never been a more exciting time to be in agriculture, and there’s never been a more challenging time to be in agriculture,” said NCGA Chairwoman Pam Johnson, who farms nearby in Floyd, Iowa. “A lot of changes have taken place since NCGA was founded in 1957, and fewer and fewer people know where their food comes from, or what farming is all about. We need to change that, and we’re excited about this program because we need more farmers who can step up and advocate and lead. Our job is to make sure they have the tools and training they need to do that.”
“There are a lot of issues confronting growers these days, and the New Leaders Program is here to help growers become communicators and leaders,” said Susan Bunz, DuPont Pioneer Vice President, Policy and Outreach. “What we really hope is that the participants will feel empowered and comfortable speaking out, engaging in conversations from Main Street to Capitol Hill, to talk about what they as farmers do to feed and fuel the world. We’ve been proud to work with NCGA and stand together on some of the hot issues confronting growers and by working together in this program, we can help build future leaders in American agriculture.”
The program will continue with specific “intersession” communications and leadership programs for the participants in the coming months, followed by a July session in Washington, D.C.
These growers are taking part in the inaugural class of the New Leaders Program: Brandon and Shannon Moore of Alabama, Randy Dowdy and Patsi Davis of Georgia, Chad and Jessica Kleinschmidt and Darrin and Christie Storm of Illinois, J.R. and Charlotte Roesner of Indiana, Emily and Matthew Cook and Adam and Kellie Jo Kramer of Iowa, Tom and Sandy Tibbits of Kansas, Adam and Megan Bell of Kentucky, Joel and Amanda Joy Mathiowetz and Julie and Deric Sievert of Minnesota, Matt and Becky Moreland of Missouri, Ryan Bonham of Nebraska, Amos and Stephanie Smith of New York, Josh and Chrissy Yoder of Ohio, Jon Stutzman of Pennsylvania, William “Landy” Thomas of South Carolina, Morgan Michelle Kontz of South Dakota, Chad and Elsie Wetzel of Texas and Tyler Franklin of Virginia.