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The next generation of leaders in agriculture and the CHS system was well represented at the 2017 CHS New Leaders Forum, held in conjunction with the 2017 CHS Annual Meeting, Dec. 6-8, in Minneapolis.
The forum and annual meeting activities allowed participants to network with other future leaders, learn about and practice strategies for effective leadership and communication, and gather information on CHS and related businesses.
“You are here because someone saw leadership potential in you,” said Jay Debertin, CHS president and CEO, as he opened the forum general session. “When you leave, I hope you will see yourselves slightly differently and will be looking for ways you can contribute. We need your leadership in the cooperative system.”
Speakers at the forum covered a range of topics, including an overview of the cooperative business model, hedging tools and a commodity market update, advocacy for agriculture and public speaking strategies, CHS political advocacy activities and engagement opportunities, and how to lead and communicate with integrity. A panel of current CHS Board members shared how they became involved in cooperative leadership, benefits of involvement and how they manage the additional responsibilities while running farms and other businesses.
Nominated by their cooperative partners in 11 states, the 110 young producers attending the forum averaged 32 years of age. Both crop and livestock operations were represented with nearly half (44 percent) managing more than 2,000 acres. Two participants already serve on local cooperative boards and 85 percent of the others expressed interest in serving on a local board in the future.