Two Redwood County farmers lead the latest new class of emerging leaders who are honing their skills to serve as the voices for U.S. agriculture through the American Soybean Association (ASA) and Corteva Agriscience Young Leaders program.
Kelli and Jeff Sorenson of Morgan, Minnesota, joined the 38th class of Young Leaders to meet virtually March 11, and will continue their training with two in-person sessions later in 2021.
ASA’s longest-running leadership program, Young Leaders was founded in 1984 and continues to set the bar for leadership training in agriculture, identifying and training new, innovative and engaged growers. The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association has a storied history of Young Leaders growing into leadership roles at the state and national levels . Current MSGA President Jamie Beyer, former President Michael Petefish and current ASA Chairman Bill Gordon are all alumni of the Young Leader program.
Jeff Sorenson is a director with MSGA and chairs the Redwood County Corn and Soybean Growers Board. The Sorensons recently participated in ASA’s Hill Visits, where they advocated during meetings with Minnesota’s federal senators and representatives.
“We’re excited, it’s a different step for us,” said Sorenson, who’s also works in ag finance at Minnwest Bank. “We’d seen the program and had seen different classes, and did a little bit of research. It seems like a great program with a lot of the different leadership skills, and we’re proud to be a part of it.”
During the virtual meeting, Young Leaders had the opportunity to connect with one another, discuss the upcoming in-person training programs and hear from soybean industry leaders. Also joining the meeting were: ASA President Kevin Scott (S.D.); Mike Dillon, global portfolio leader – Soybeans, Corteva Agriscience; Matt Rekeweg, U.S. industry relations, Corteva Agriscience; Peter Laudeman, political affairs manager, Corteva Agriscience and Jordan Scott, South Dakota Soybean Association president and member of the Young Leader class of 2018.
“The Young Leader program provides participants with the tools and knowledge they need to be successful leaders while helping them build confidence and grow a strong support network,” Scott said. “I’ve seen firsthand the impact it can have. My son Jordan and daughter-in-law Samantha’s experience in the program encouraged them to get involved and I couldn’t be prouder to say that Jordan is now serving as president of the South Dakota Soybean Association.”
“For nearly 40 years, the Corteva Agriscience Young Leader program has worked to identify, develop and support leaders in the U.S. soybean industry. We are honored that our long-term collaboration with ASA means these growers will sharpen their talents and develop skills to help America’s soybean farmers and the agriculture industry,” said Mike Dillon, global soybean portfolio leader with Corteva Agriscience. “The 2021 Young Leader class is an outstanding group and I am optimistic they will contribute to the soybean industry’s bright future.”
In addition to the Sorensons, the 2021 Young Leaders are: Wes & Vonda Kirkpatrick (Ark.); Joey Stasell (Ill.); Jake McCormick & Sarah Luecke (Ind.); Jeff & Kim Failor (Iowa); Kendall & Austin Heiniger (Kan.); Collin Cooper & Allison Dallas (Ky.); PJ Feldpausch (Mich.); Evan & Lucy Staley (Md); Reid Carter (Miss.); Kaitlin Flick & Klinton Holliday (Mo.); Cale Buhr (Neb.); Logan & Kristin Watson (N.C.); Andrew & Brittni Cossette (N.D.); Bennett & Liza Musselman (Ohio); Alex & Grace Tolson (S.C.); Taylor & John Elverson (S.D.); and Jason & Brandy Cherry (Tenn.).
The American Soybean Association (ASA) represents U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international policy issues important to the soybean industry. ASA has 26 affiliated state associations representing 30 soybean-producing states and more than 300,000 soybean farmers. MSGA is the first state affiliate of ASA.