Brownton farmer Ryan Mackenthun joined American Soybean Association farmer-leaders from seven states to participate in the Syngenta Leadership At Its Best program earlier in 2023 in Raleigh, N.C., and Washington, D.C. Participants had the opportunity to interact with leaders from several other agricultural organizations also attending the event. The leaders received training in several areas, including agricultural issues, communications, media, and effective advocacy in Washington and through social media.
During his time on the Hill, Mackenthun visited with legislative aides with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Michelle Fischbach and Rep. Pete Stauber. Mackenthun, who serves as treasurer of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, discussed a range of farm-related policies with staffers, including the upcoming Farm Bill and the Port of Duluth.
“It was nice to be able to set up all the meetings myself. I learned all about what (MSGA Membership Manager) Jodie Arndt does setting up our Hill Visits,” Mackenthun said. “The Hill Visits were awesome, along with networking with individuals in agriculture.”
Participants started their week in Raleigh, where they had the opportunity to hear presentations from several Syngenta staff members and tour the Syngenta Crop Lab. In the middle of the week, the group traveled to Washington, D.C., where they developed personal advocacy plans and received more training on issues and how to effectively carry their message to the Hill from the Washington staff at various national organizations, including the ASA team. The group also participated in Hill visits with legislators from their states.
“These programs help you get out of your shell and become a better leader,” said Mackenthun, a past graduate of ASA’s Young Leader program.
Leadership At Its Best Program participants are nominated by their state soybean association. For more information, visit the “Learn” section of the ASA website at soygrowers.com, or contact Michelle Hummel in the ASA office at firstname.lastname@example.org.