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Closer connections build the future of ag

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The CHS Foundation has long been committed to investing in projects that develop the next generation of ag leaders but know there is more to stewardship than just dollars. Now there’s a new way for CHS employees to invest their time and knowledge in this effort. The new CHS Foundation liaison program is strengthening relationships with collegiate and state FFA partners by giving CHS employees the opportunity to volunteer their time to educate the ag industry’s future leaders.

“We were looking for ways to build stronger relationships with the 17 state FFA associations and 24 partner colleges and universities supported by the CHS Foundation,” says Nanci Lilja, CHS Foundation president. “By matching these organizations with local CHS employees who will represent the foundation, we are able to provide more support and access to resources.”

Having a local contact makes it easier for universities and state FFA associations to take advantage of CHS resources like employee experience and industry expertise.  

The Montana FFA Association has a great match with Mark Lalum, general manager of CHS Mountain West Cooperative. For Lalum, who spent 25 years as an ag teacher prior to his career at CHS, giving back to his state’s FFA program is a personal passion. 

“FFA does a phenomenal job of teaching communication skills and self-confidence to future ag leaders”, says Lalum. “On our current local cooperative board, several members are my former students.”  

Marty Strasburg, regional sales manager with CHS Nutrition, sees his new role as liaison for the CHS Foundation as a way to build on existing relationships and past successes. When an advisory committee was being formed at South Dakota State University, he was asked to participate.  

“SDSU has some of the nation’s most state-of-the-art production and research facilities, thanks to the CHS Foundation and other organizations”, says Strasburg. “As a liaison for the foundation, I will have a closer relationship with SDSU, which will allow me to share perspective on the needs of the university and ag industry.”

In its first eight months, the CHS Foundation liaison program has leveraged CHS employee involvement to create a network of resources for the foundation’s grant partners to support their work of educating future leaders. 

The CHS Foundation is funded by charitable gifts from CHS Inc. and committed to making a long-lasting impact on rural America and the agricultural industry through investments that develop ag leaders for life.  Read more at www.chsinc.com/stewardship