(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.)--A select group of nine farmers met in Jefferson City Dec. 14-15, to form the inaugural class of the Missouri CornRoots Leadership Academy sponsored by the Missouri Corn Growers Association (MCGA) and Missouri Corn Merchandising Council (MCMC).
Designed to identify future grower-leaders and provide the tools to increase grassroots involvement, the first CornRoots session kicked off Wednesday with growers from across the state. Throughout the program, participants took part in sessions focused on the value of grassroots, effective leadership, public speaking, policy involvement and media training. Growers also visited the State Capitol to gain a better understanding of the political process and how to effectively communicate with urban and rural legislators.
"In order to successfully move our industry forward, corn growers must work together and stand with a united voice," said MCGA President Billy Thiel, a grain farmer from Malta Bend, Mo. "The CornRoots program will provide the tools and techniques to help these growers engage their neighbors and strengthen the grassroots efforts of Missouri corn farmers."
Nominated by existing Missouri Corn board members, participants in this year's CornRoots Leadership Academy are:
Jason Mayer, Dexter, Mo.
Matt Moreland, Harrisonville, Mo.
Kurtis Gregory, Malta Bend, Mo.
Joe Meadows, Liberal, Mo.
Dana Hauk, Memphis, Mo.
Richard L. Oswald, Fairfax, Mo.
Brian Lehman, Versailles, Mo.
Jim Burns, Anabel, Mo.
Patrick Anderson, Archie, Mo.
"For over 30 years, the strength of Missouri Corn has originated from its grassroots," said Missouri Corn CEO Gary Marshall. "Whether we're working on legislative issues, visiting with farmers or speaking with consumers, Missouri corn growers are the foundation to achieving our goals. This CornRoots program will further strengthen this base and arm our growers with the skills they need to effectively educate others on issues impacting our industry."
To complete the leadership academy, the group will take part in a second CornRoots session where they will meet with the Missouri Corn board of directors, visit with legislators at the State Capitol and join other growers for MCGA's annual meeting Jan. 31 in Jefferson City.