Applications are still being accepted until mid-July for the I-LEAD adult agricultural leadership development program sponsored by the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB). This will be the fourth class. The I-LEAD program was started in 2001.
The I-LEAD program is not restricted to corn leadership. The I-LEAD program develops leaders for all of Iowa, not just the corn grower organizations. "We are looking for Iowans with a commitment to our state's agricultural future," says Edith Munro, the program manager. "I-LEAD offers a richer experience because class members are recruited from all across the agricultural sector."
The purpose of the program is to help answer the question: Where will tomorrow's leaders in Iowa agriculture come from?
Cultivating new leaders for agriculture
From the applicants, a class of about 20 people will be chosen. I-LEAD Class IV will be announced in early September, and will begin a series of nine workshops after this year's harvest. The class will end with a graduation in August of 2010. Most of the workshop sessions will run in the "off season" for farmers—avoiding planting and harvest.
There are nine workshops spread over a two-year period. They are generally held Thursday noon to Saturday noon and include the opportunity to learn a variety of skills and information and develop networking experiences. Most of the sessions meet in Des Moines or elsewhere in Iowa.
Three longer sessions are planned to take class members to a U.S. Grains Council meeting (where they will also explore Southern California's agriculture) in July, 2009; to Washington, DC for meetings with state and federal ag leaders in July, 2010; and on an international study mission (chosen by the class members).
Urge someone you know to apply
"We've all been wrapped up in this spring's challenges, but it's time now to stop and think about people we know who could become outstanding leaders for Iowa agriculture," said Munro. "When you see someone with that potential, urge them to apply for I-LEAD."
I-LEAD applicants must be Iowa residents and commit to attend all nine sessions. Most costs for the program are paid by the ICPB and the ICGA. I-LEAD class members are responsible for transportation costs between their homes and meeting locations within Iowa.
I-LEAD application forms and details are available by calling Iowa Corn at 515-225-9242 or on the Iowa Corn web site at www.iowacorn.org. Applications can be submitted by mail, fax or e-mail. The deadline is July 15.