The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program (IALP) Class of 2014 received an update on current issues affecting agriculture during the recent National Ag Policy Seminar. Sponsored by Kim Morton, a 1998 graduate of the IALP and is a board member of the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation, the seminar is in preparation for the 30-member class to visit Washington, D.C. in March.
There were 14 educational sessions during the three-day seminar held in Champaign-Urbana. The first day was held at the University of Illinois and included a presentation on the “Top 10 Policy Issues related to Agriculture being discussed in Washington D.C.” by Jonathan Coppess. Coppess is the Chief Counsel for the U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee and was heavily involved in writing the Farm Bill, which was passed by the U.S. Senate but not considered in the House of Representatives. Participants also received an update of issues impacting agriculture presented by Mark Gebhards, Executive Director of Governmental Affairs & Commodities, Illinois Farm Bureau. Also on the first day, Lori Laughlin, Director of Issue Management, Illinois Farm Bureau, led an interactive discussion regarding “Food, Agriculture and the Farmer’s Image – Impacting Agricultural Policy” and what farmers can do to change their image in the minds of the American public.
At the conclusion of the first day, the Class of 2014 was hosted to a dinner at the home of Duane and Nancy Strunk. Duane is a 1984 graduate of the IALP.
The second day included a discussion of “The Net Land Equation: How much land should we dedicate to corn ethanol?” led by Dr. Peter Goldsmith, Associate Professor and Interim Director of the Food and Agribusiness Management Program, and Executive Editor,
The International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, and Dr. Hans Stein, Professor, Department of Animal Sciences. Dr. Wojtek J. Chodzko-Zajko, Professor and Department Head, Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois presented a life-skills session on “Health, Fitness and Wellness for the Frequent Traveler.” Dr. Paul Ellinger, Professor and Department Head, Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois led a group exercise on “Defining the Food System.”
Two panel discussions were held on the second day: the “Biofuels Policy Panel” featured Dr. Madhu Khanna, Professor, Agriculture and Consumer Economics, and Professor, Energy Biosciences Institute, Institute of Genomic Biology, and Dr. Scott Irwin, Professor and Laurence J. Norton Chair of Agricultural Marketing, Agriculture and Consumer Economics. A Farm Bill panel discussion featured three notable University of Illinois Professors: Dr. Nick Paulson, Dr. Gary Schnitkey, and Dr. Craig Gundersen, Professor, who is also the Executive Director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory. They were joined on the panel by Jonathan Coppess, Chief Counsel for U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. The second day of the seminar concluded with a presentation by Dr. Ellinger on “Three Key Issues for 2013 – BUDGET, ECONOMY, BUDGET.”
The Class of 2014 was invited to dinner sponsored by Stewart Farms at the Nabor House agricultural fraternity at the University of Illinois. The chapter recently built a new house that was opened in fall 2011. Dr. Robert Easter, President, University of Illinois and an IALF board member, attended the event.
The final day of the seminar was held at the Farm Credit Services office building in Mahomet. Gary Hoff, Extension Specialist for Taxation, University of Illinois Tax School, spoke on “Tax Policy – Impact on Agriculture.” Kevin Johnson, Director of Government & Industry Relations, Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, addressed “Environmental and Other Issues Impacting the Fertilizer and Chemical Business.” The day concluded with a presentation on “Dodd-Frank and Financial Reform: Impact on Agriculture” by Dr. Bruce Sherrick and Dr. Paul Peterson from The Clearing Corporation Foundation Clinical Professor in Derivatives Training, Agriculture and Consumer Economics.
The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program is a two-year comprehensive education series that develops knowledgeable and effective leaders to become policy and decision makers for the agricultural industry. The program is funded by the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation, a non-profit organization comprising individuals, companies, organizations and institutional partners. Program participants are selected from diverse backgrounds in Illinois agriculture, and program graduates have attained the highest level positions in the nation’s leading agribusiness corporations.
For more information on the program or foundation, or to recommend a candidate for the Class of 2016, please contact IALF at (309) 837-7711 or go to www.agleadership.org.[clear]