State Program Sharpens Indiana Farmers’ Leadership Skills and Knowledge of Ag
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (November 21, 2014) — With a desire to invest in the future of agricultural leadership, Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council awarded scholarships to three Indiana corn and soybean farmers to attend the state’s Agricultural Leadership Program.
ALP is national network with state programs designed to create a group of informed agricultural leaders who are equipped to lead the industry. The Indiana program offers participants a multi-disciplinary education, looking at how social, economic, political and cultural issues are connected with agriculture. Paul Hodgen, Josh Miller and Guy Schafer began the program this year on a partial scholarship from ISA and ICMC.
Hodgen grew up in west central Indiana and earned his Ph.D. from University of Nebraska. After working in the industry for five years, he returned to his family’s corn and soybean farm. He was familiar with the ALP and wanted to participate in Indiana’s program to hone is educational skills.
“I’m looking forward to exposure to the other side of the ag industry that I’ve not participated in first-hand,” Hodgen said. “Being a researcher and growing up on the farm, I understand that aspect of ag. But the marketing and policy are a little bit foreign to me and I’m excited to see that side of the industry through ALP.”
ALP consists of 12 seminars throughout a two year period and two class trips – one to Washington D.C. and one to an international destination. Recently, class participants toured CountryMark’s new facility in southern Indiana and attended ISA/ICMC’s barge tour along the Ohio River.
“For me, the most interesting aspect of the program is the people that you meet, the conversations generated and the opportunity you have to learn about the diversity of agriculture,” said Miller, a fifth generation farmer from Anderson, Ind.
Miller is a member of the Marine Corps and spent 10 years off the farm, earning his master’s degree and working as a government contractor abroad. Now working on his family’s operation,
Miller wants to grow in his knowledge of the industry and leadership skills to accurately represent agriculture to a society that is further and further removed from the farm.
“We need to have intelligent people who are willing to represent agriculture and not not let non-ag industries dictate the face of ag,” he said.
The scholarship recipients agree that ISA/ICMC’s generosity made the program more feasible for them. Hodgen described the scholarship as a “welcome surprise” which eased the financial commitment of the program. Hodgen also appreciates organizations like ISA and ICMC investing in the future leadership of agriculture.
“I think it’s a good use of the funds to help members into this program,” he said. “It’s a sound investment and it sets a good example for other businesses and organizations to follow.”
The Indiana Soybean Alliance works to enhance the viability of Indiana soybean farmers through the effective and efficient investment of soybean checkoff funds and the development of sound policies that protect and promote the interest of Indiana soybean farmers. The ISA is working to build new markets for soybeans through the promotion of biodiesel, livestock, grain marketing, aquaculture, new soybean uses, and research. ISA is led by an elected farmer board that directs investments of the soybean checkoff funds on behalf of more than 28,000 Indiana soybean farmers and promotes policies on behalf of the ISA’s 800 dues-paying members. Visit www.indianasoybean.com for more information.
The Indiana Corn Marketing Council was established by the Indiana General Assembly to promote the interest of corn growers in the state and manage corn checkoff funds. The Council is composed of 17 voting producer directors and seven appointed industry, and government representatives. For more information, visit www.incorn.org.
This communication was funded with corn and soybean checkoff dollars.