Highlights of Leadership Institute 2013

ASFMRA’s annual Leadership Institute got underway at the Westin in Alexandria, VA on September 8. Appraisers arrived by Sunday afternoon. Those arriving early had time to take in some of the monuments and Smithsonian museums along the National Mall. Sunday evening supper at Legal Seafood was enjoyed by all appraiser participants. The appearance of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Neil Young at a nearby table was a highlight for the more seasoned participants! Mr. Young appeared at a Farmers Union rally the following day. 

Monday’s schedule for appraisers included meetings with lobbyists Bill Garber and Scott DiBiasio of the Appraisal Institute; Paula Douglas Seidel of The Appraisal Foundation; a panel discussion with John Ross, director of valuation services for the Department of the Interior, Brian Holly, MAI, chief appraiser for the Department of Justice, and A. Eric Alvarez, chief of the real estate division for U.S. Fish & Wildlife; and Karin Gross and Deena Devereaux, counsel with the IRS.  

Managers arrived by noon on Monday. The managers and appraisers met at USDA at 1:15 on Monday for a private meeting with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Secretary Vilsack made a number of points regarding the farm bill and immigration which were delivered in a speech to the media the next day. Thanks to participant Darrell Limkeman AFM for arranging this meeting.   Monday afternoon meetings for the managers included presentations by senior economist Tom Reynolds of DuPont and Farm Manager Coordinator Rob Vincent of DuPont Pioneer. Results of the ASFMRA Government Relations Survey were presented by Merrill Swanson, ARA and Dennis Reyman, AFM, ARA.

Appraisers and managers both benefited from Tuesday’s full-day session of Communications and Advocacy Training with Eileen Wixted and Company. This is high-powered, intense, and extremely beneficial preparation for legislative visits to Capitol Hill. Tuesday evening’s activities included supper with and presentation by Jim Borel, Executive Vice President of DuPont. An open-air bus tour of the monuments, including a walking tour of the WWII Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Wall, Korean War Memorial, and Iwo Jima Memorial concluded the evening.

Wednesday’s schedule included presentations by ASFMRA lobbyist Stephen Frerichs on the status of the Farm Bill; Joe Prusacki, Director of the Statistics Division for National Ag Statistics Service; Kristi Noem, Congresswoman from South Dakota and member of the House Ag Committee; a roundtable with John Hays, V.P. and Senior Policy Analyst with Farm Credit Council along with lobbyists from the corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, and rice associations plus National Farmers Union.   Wednesday afternoon’s schedule included a meeting with House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) along with individual visits to the participant’s Senators and Congressmen. 

Thursday’s schedule included a private meeting at USDA with chief economist Joe Glauber, followed by meetings with Kent Lanclos, Deputy Administrator of the Risk Management Agency and Mary Kay Thatcher, Senior Director of Congressional Relations for American Farm Bureau.

The appraisers schedule concluded with lunch.  

The managers’ day continued northward to Chesapeake Farm, a 3,300 acre farm owned by DuPont near Chestertown MD.   A tour of the farm with biologist Mark Connor and a visit with Trey Hill, a large farm operator and spokesman for agriculture, at his farm was followed by supper at Waterman’s Crab House.    The group was joined by Mr. Hill along with Ed Makowski, director of marketing for DuPont and Matt Scuffham, district sales manager for Pioneer.   An overnight stay at the farm was followed by a country breakfast in the early 1700′s farmhouse.  A tour of herbicide test plots was led by Don Ganske, field development senior consultant for DuPont.   The managers experience concluded with a sporting clays shoot at the facility on the farm.  

Once again, Leadership Institute provided participants with access to a great array of ag policy influencers along with communications training which is useful every day.   The camaraderie, networking, and experience are invaluable as leaders are developed for our state and national activities along with enhanced leadership capabilities within our own communities. 

Leadership Institute is a cooperative effort by ASFMRA staff along with Stephen Frerichs and DuPont Pioneer, with the assistance of farm manager coordinators Rob Vincent, Lonnie Smith, and Pat Tomlinson.

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