The Young Leader Program began in 1984. The program goal is the same today as it was 20 years ago: to seek out and develop new leadership for agriculture. The Young Leader Program is looking for soybean farmers who are innovative, assertive, “young” (or new) to leadership, and looking to make their mark in agriculture.

More than half of all past Young Leaders serve on state or national soybean associations or promotion boards, and many are active in regional or county organizations as well.

“The Young Leader Program is an exceptional leadership training program,” says Ron Heck, ASA president. “The instructors and program content are of the highest quality. This program provides information that the participant can start using immediately, not only in business but personally as well.”

“Applicants selected as Young Leaders have an excellent opportunity to learn the key leadership skills necessary for high profile roles within agriculture,” says Kevin Turnblad, Pioneer Key Account manager. “They do this through interactive training that utilizes instructors and materials that have been very successful in the real-world.

Participants can also learn from each other and through the use of case studies of topics that are ‘front-burner’ and pivotal to the future of agriculture. If anyone is interested in making a difference in agriculture, this program is for you.”

The 2004 class of Young Leaders and their spouses will participate in a challenging and educational leadership experience Feb. 28-March 2, 2004, in Las Vegas. This seminar will include leadership and issues training and provide an opportunity for participants to meet and learn from other Young Leaders from around the country.

The class will also take part in the Commodity Classic, March 2-4, 2004, rounding out a full week of learning, networking, and personal growth. Participants will travel to Pioneer’s Headquarters in Johnston, Iowa, to complete their training in December 2004.

Application forms for the 2004 Young Leader Program are being mailed to all ASA members. Forms may also be obtained by calling (800) 688-7692, your state soybean office, or on the web at www.SoyGrowers.com.

Soybean producers are encouraged to apply or nominate another producer who would be an excellent candidate for the program. Nominations should be returned to ASA by Dec. 17. One Young Leader couple will be selected from each of ASA's state affiliates.

e-mail: dmuzzi@primediabusiness.com