Recently, 21 members of the Iowa Corn Leadership Enhancement and Development class of 2014 graduated and completed their two-year leadership journey. The class consisted of farmers, agribusiness and governmental emerging leaders from across the state. This is Class number 6 in the I-LEAD program, meaning the program has produced six classes of graduates over the dozen or so years that I-LEAD has been in existence.
"Over the past two years, these I-LEAD members who belong to Class 6 have learned communication skills, gained worldly knowledge, built lasting relationships, and have grown to be leaders for the future of Iowa agriculture," says Bob Hemesath, a farmer from northeast Iowa and an Iowa Corn Growers Association director. He oversaw the program as he and another ICGA member served as a mentor to Class #6.
I-LEAD helps develop future leaders for Iowa agriculture
Integral parts of the I-LEAD program include helping the participants gain a better understanding of agriculture, helping them learn how to make decisions as a group, and helping them develop leadership skills. Many of the two-day meetings are spent discovering more about members' leadership style and building a foundation for working with different personalities and points of view.
This past winter, I-LEAD Class number 6 had the opportunity to explore agriculture in a different part of the world. During a 10-day mission to China, members of I-LEAD Class 6 met with government officials, corn customers and industry experts to learn about Chinese culture and the process of developing export markets for Iowa's agricultural commodities through connections with the U.S. Grains Council, or USGC, and with the U.S. Meat Export Federation, or USMEF.
Class of 2014 studied agriculture in China and California
Following the China mission, the class took a domestic mission to California to take a look at agriculture challenges closer to home. Members of the class enjoyed learning about different farming practices, the wide range of crops grown in California and the challenges they face. To conclude their journey, I -LEAD Class 6 spent four days in Washington D.C. learning about national issues and policy.
Graduates of I-LEAD Class IV include: Jarrod Bakker (Dike), Laurie Bedord (Ankeny), Carly Cummings (Ames), Ryan Gallagher (Washington), Paul Gieselman (Morning Sun), Adam Gregg (Johnston), Jeff Johnson (Riverton), Mark Kenney (Ankeny), Josh Lammert (Silver City), Kayla Lyon (Ames), Gretchen McClain (Stockport), Thomas Meierotto (West Des Moines), Devin Mogler (Des Moines), Jason Ribbens (Webster City), Brian Rouse (Emmetsburg), Dan Runner (Gilman), Brent Schipper (Conrad), Vince Sitzmann (Prairie City), Adam Stamp (Ankeny), Jody Van Regenmorter (Inwood) and Chris Wolters (Sanborn).
Are you interested in becoming a member of Class #7? Keep in mind I-LEAD Class 7 will start their journey in November. For more information, visit iowacorn.org/ilead.
The Iowa Corn I-LEAD program was developed and is sponsored by the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) and the Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) in recognition that the future of Iowa agriculture depends on developing leaders who have a passion for agriculture. The goal of the two-year program is to provide Iowa's talented men and women with the tools they need to succeed as leaders and spokespeople.