A leadership experience

2019 YOUNG LEADER PROGRAM

JEFF AND ANN VERMEERSCH (CENTRE). ALSO PICTURED ARE JOHN HEISDORFFER, ASA PRESIDENT (LEFT) AND ALYSSA SUNDELL, STRATEGY & ENGAGEMENT MANAGER EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, CORTEVA AGRISCIENCETM AGRICULTURE DIVISION OF DOWDUPONTTM (RIGHT).
THE 2018-19 YOUNG LEADER PROGRAM IS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN SOYBEAN ASSOCIATION (ASA) AND CORTEVA AGRISCIENCE™, AGRICULTURE DIVISION OF DOWDUPONT.

WITH VOLATILE COMMODITY markets, the uncertainty of future trade agreements, and a changing political landscape, strong leaders are needed to take an active role in championing agriculture.

Grain Farmers of Ontario is looking for a young soybean farmer or couple to participate in a leadership program designed to improve your leadership and communication skills, highlight the latest agricultural information, and help you develop a strong peer network.

The 2018-19 Young Leader Program, sponsored by the American Soybean Association (ASA) and Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, is a two-phase educational program for actively farming individuals and couples who are passionate about the future possibilities of agriculture. ASA has 26 state affiliates, including Grain Farmers of Ontario, representing 300,000 farmers. Soybean farmers who participate in this program will be the leaders that shape the future of agriculture.

“The networking opportunity the program offers is a highlight of the program,” says Ann Vermeersch, the Ontario soybean farmer selected to represent Grain Farmers of Ontario in the 2017-18 Young Leader program. “It opened a lot of doors for me and connected me to other growers I wouldn’t have been able to meet otherwise. These people are now resources I can go to for support to grow my business.”

Vermeersch and her husband, Jeff, farm in Tillsonburg. They are partners in Tillvalley Farms Inc. and cash crop 1,000 acres, just under half of which is planted to soybeans each year.

“I would encourage other young soybean farmers to apply for this program,” says Vermeersch. “It’s definitely an excellent program for farming couples to take together, you take more out of it when you have the experience together.”

Phase 1 of the 2018-19 Young Leader program will take place in Johnston, Iowa, November 27 – 30, 2018 at the headquarters of Corteva AgriscienceTM, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont. The program continues February 26 – March 2, 2019 in Orlando, Florida, in conjunction with the annual Commodity Classic Convention and Trade Show.

“The Young Leader Program is among the most impactful training programs in agriculture, recognizing the value of engaging and encouraging a diverse agricultural leadership. The training allows participants to realize their leadership potential and create meaningful relationships with other growers from the U.S. and Canada, improving collaboration throughout the industry,” says ASA President John Heisdorffer, a farmer from Keota, Iowa. “We can’t thank Corteva Agriscience™ enough for their longstanding support and commitment to building strong, passionate agricultural leaders.”

Collaboration is important for farmers who face many of the same challenges with their businesses and crop success — no matter where in North America their farming operation is.

“Agriculture is a universal language and those involved are connected in ways other industries will never understand,” says Steve McCabe, manager of member relations for Grain Farmers of Ontario. “Within this time of trade uncertainty, it is of utmost importance that we strengthen Canadian/U.S. relationships and partnerships within our industry. We are each other’s best trading partners, neighbours, and fellow North American farmers. The ASA Young Leader program proves that farmers can and will continue to work together.”

Additional information about the Young Leader program and the application form are available via the Young Leader page on www.SoyGrowers.com or by contacting Steve McCabe at smccabe@gfo.ca or 226-979-5581. Applications for the program will be accepted until September 14, 2018. •

About Rachel Telford 95 Articles
Communications Coordinator, Publications, Grain Farmers of Ontario; Managing Editor, Ontario Grain Farmer Magazine

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