Wheat leaders complete national leadership training programs
Two Kansas wheat farmers recently completed leadership training sponsored in part by the National Association of Wheat Growers Foundation.
Mike McClellan, Palco, and Ken Wood, Chapman, have completed the Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow and Wheat Organization Leaders of the Future programs, respectively.
The WOLF program is also co-sponsored by Bayer CropScience. It is designed as an advanced leadership program for state wheat grower leaders who will soon become members of the NAWG Board of Directors. The goal of the program is to provide a solid foundation of knowledge about NAWG and about board leadership, with training session focused on Board member responsibilities, the industry's structure and maintaining effective communications with the media and Capitol Hill stakeholders.
The two-day leadership training occurred just prior to NAWG's joint winter board meetings with the U.S. Wheat Associates in Washington, D.C., last month.
"The WOLF Program is intended to be an indoctrination into how NAWG works," says Wood, who also participated in NAWG board meetings. The training was especially helpful in teaching prospective NAWG board members about communicating with lawmakers and media members.
For the WILOT program, McClellan visited the Monsanto campus in St. Louis last fall. The WILOT program includes 10 participants, whose state wheat associations support their interests in becoming better advocates for wheat and the agriculture industry as a whole. Participants in the 2012 WILOT program included growers from several NAWG member states and NAWG staff, who took part in leadership and media training and toured many of the Monsanto laboratories. Monsanto is a co-sponsor of the WILOT program.
Presentations were also given by NAWG staff in the areas of policymaking, lobbying and communications, as well as an overview of NAWG's structure as an organization. Much of the discussion centered on what role farmers will play in shaping the future of agriculture as the world demands more food to feed a rapidly growing population.
McClellan said the training provided greater understanding of the importance of a nation-wide grower organization.
"It is reassuring to know there are folks looking out for our interests in Washington, D.C.," he says. "With agricultural policy becoming ever more contentious, it is good to know we have some sharp people in Washington, D.C., working on our behalf."
McClellan said a highlight of the WILOT program was to meet and network with farmers from other states. "I felt humbled to be around some of my fellow participants. There were a couple of folks in Michigan who were working hard to establish a statewide wheat association there, and a fellow from North Dakota who will join me at a football game at K-State this fall," he says.
"Any KAWG member with an interest in wheat leadership should go through this program," he adds.
The next WILOT training program occurs in November. Interested KAWG members should contact the KAWG office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-75-WHEAT.
Kansas Wheat is the joint agreement between the Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, joining together as "Leaders in the Adoption of Profitable Innovations for Wheat."