ARA hosts Leadership at its Best Program
[Left to Right]: Rick Greene of MFA, Inc., Don Rosie of Meherrin Agricultural & Chemical Company, Adam Lovelace of The Andersons, Neil Strong of Syngenta, Jeff Nagel of Ceres Solutions, Randy Stephens of SureGrow, Ian McGregor of McGregor Company, Josh Thornsbrough of Growmark, Scott Buchli of WinField Solutions, Pat Schaddel of Brandt Consolidated, and ARA staff member David McKnight. The program included the opportunity for participants to interact one on one with federal agencies and congressional senior staff. Ashley Nelsen, with EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs, discussed the process the EPA uses in writing regulations. She also provided tools and best practice solutions on how, when and who to communicate with to potentially influence pending regulations.
Meetings followed on Capitol Hill beginning at the Rayburn Office Building to meet with staff of the House Small Business Committee followed by a visit with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s Chief of Staff Krysta Harden at USDA headquarters. The highlight for many of this year’s class was the opportunity to meet three members of Congress. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), and Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) joined this year’s class in a private room where the participants had an informal conversation with the members and discussed industry issues. These meetings provided a valuable inside perspective on the workings and process of communicating with Congress and committees.
Upon program completion, participants are expected to put to practice the skills gained during the program in a variety of ways. These include serving on ARA committees, task forces and workgroups; providing educational and facility outreach opportunities to elected officials and agency representatives, representing the industry at hearings or other proceedings, and participating in industry related online discussion groups and blogs.