ASFMRA held its 19th annual Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C., from Sept. 9 to 14 at the Westin Hotel in Alexandria. The group was comprised of 28 land experts including farm managers and rural appraisers.
Rural appraisers spent most of Monday at the Farm Credit Council (FCC) with numerous high level speakers. An offsite meeting was held at the Appraisal Foundation office with David Bunton with The Appraisal Foundation and James Park with the Appraisal Subcommittee. Onsite speakers at FCC included John Ross with the Department of Interior; Brian Holly, chief appraiser with the Department of Justice; John Turpin with the Federal Highway Commission; George Barlow, III with The Nature Conservancy; Bill Garber and Scott DeBaisio with the Appraisal Institute.
Farm managers spent a productive day on Monday with several speakers from DuPont Pioneer including Steve Elmore, DuPont global economics director who will also address the annual meeting in Indianapolis; John Chrosniak, DuPont Crop Protection director; and Brad Lance, Pioneer Heartland business unit director. Monday concluded with a supper cruise past the monuments on the Potomac River.
Tuesday was an intense but very productive day as the entire group worked with Eileen Wixted and Associates in Communications and Advocacy Training. Wixted's high-powered training not only prepares the group to deliver its message on Capitol Hill, but will benefit them in their daily activities as well. The main message delivered to our legislators was to get the farm bill moving and finalized. Section 1619 was again discussed at length.
Wednesday morning was spent with top notch speakers including Mary Kay Thatcher with American Farm Bureau, Senate Ag Committee staffers Tara Reid and Joe Schultz, House Ag Committee economist Craig Jaegger, and lobbyists from corn, wheat and cotton. John Hays, vice president and policy specialist with FCC also addressed the group. Wednesday afternoon was spent on the Hill, first with Chairman Frank Lucas's staff, then individual meetings with each participant's legislators. Most of the participants took in some of the Farm Bill Now! rally on Capitol Hill over the noon hour.
Thursday speakers included Rich Brown, chief economist with FDIC; Joe Prusacki with National Ag Statistics Service; and Kent Lancios with Risk Management Agency. Late Thursday afternoon included a tour of a farm with its mix of wildlife habitat management and cropland management practices, as well as a visit to the Trey Hill farm. Hill farms 13,000 acres on the Delmarva Peninsula. He is a great spokesman for agriculture as a farmer and sounding board for conservation practices required around Chesapeake Bay. The evening concluded at Waterman's Crab House. Friday morning was spent with Don Ganske, field development senior consultant with DuPont, along with 90 minutes shooting at sporting clays.
The Leadership Institute included great learning opportunities, camaraderie, exposure to the workings of our nation's Capitol, navigating the D.C. Metro and agriculture on the Eastern Seaboard. Plans are already underway for 2013's Leadership Institute.
Thank you to our sponsors and partners at DuPont Pioneer and ASFMRA's lobbyist in D.C., Stephen Frerichs. Their leadership and passion puts this event over the top as one of the leading experiences offered by ASFMRA.