Tomorrow's Ag Leaders: 2 Complete, 1 Joins

Feb 05, 2020

The South Dakota Ag Business Association started a program in 2018 called ‘Tomorrow’s Ag Leaders.’ It is a program designed to prepare upcoming leaders in the ag industry through leadership training, legislative experience, and overall exposure to the benefits and issues in our ag economy. The process begins with an application and an essay explaining your growth in the ag industry as well as overall work experience showing your dedication to improving and advocating for agriculture. To be considered a candidate for the program, one must submit 3 reference letters from peers in the industry on your behalf. Each year, the Tomorrow’s Ag Leaders program selects 10 people throughout the state to participate in a 3-section program learning about state legislation, national legislation, and leadership training.
In 2019, we had two employees accepted into the program: Angela Hawkinson and Casey Erickson.

Here’s what they have to say about the program:
I was approached by my Supervisor if I would like to apply for the TAL program and after reading about my fellow peer’s experience, Eric Paulson, I was eager for a chance to give it a try. TAL provided me great insight to just exactly how the legislative process operates, how to improve leadership skills within the ag industry, and the confidence to carry the knowledge I learned with me here at Full Circle Ag and in my everyday life.  There is so much that goes on behind the scenes, so to speak, with ag that TAL broadened my horizons immensely.  Our class traveled to Washington D.C. and took in all the historical sites, visited the capitol and met with Republican Representative, Dusty Johnson, along with Senator Mike Rounds, and SD Majority Whip Leader, John Thune.  I am still fathomed at the whole legislative process itself.  If you think approving a SD Senate or House Bill is a 1, 2 or 3 step process, you may want to think again.  The time alone it takes for the constituents, along with their legislatures, to configure the bills on the forefront can take months up to years. Sitting in on the committee hearings, I could sense the passion they had.  And, all their hard work could come to an end within a 2-minute vote.  Watching the whole process unfold, is by far an experience that I am very grateful to have been a part of.  Any individual given this opportunity; I urge you to go for it.  It is one for the books! 

I heard about Tomorrow’s Ag Leaders from my coworker, Eric Paulson, who was in the class of 2018.  When we discussed the details of the program, I was very intrigued.  After our conversation was over, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the TAL program.  From everything I learned about agriculture at the state and federal level, to the people I was able to network with and be able to contact in the future with any questions my local farmers might have, is something I am very pleased to have obtained from the program.

The most captivating part was being able to obtain the legislative experience in Washington, DC. Meeting our House and Senate Representatives and being able to sit down and discuss with them the concerns our farmers and co-ops have back in South Dakota was an honor.

I would definitely recommend this program to anyone who is looking to advance their knowledge of agriculture, especially from a legislative standpoint.  Gaining the experience, as well as the ability to network with others within the ag sector, is something I will continue to use in the future to support our local growers in any way I can.

Congratulations to Angela and Casey for graduating in the 2019 Tomorrow’s Ag Leaders class!
We are very excited to have another Full Circle Ag employee in the Tomorrow’s Ag Leader’s program for 2020: Tony Lyren.

Here are Tony's thoughts and expectations:

Honestly, I'm very excited for the networking aspect. Both with peers and policy influencers at state and national levels. I'm hoping I'll be able to learn some of the finer points of the political process. I want to witness some of the nuts and bolts of how important legislation happens. I'm also hoping to come away with some knowledge on how to motivate people around me to be involved in both Ag policy and the greater Ag industry.
Congratulations to Tony for being accepted in the 2020 Tomorrow’s Ag Leaders class!
We look forward to following Tony’s journey and are proud to have such dedicated, hardworking team members in our company.

Pictured: Casey Erickson & Angela Hawkinson, Class of 2019

Pictured: Tony Lyren with the Class of 2020 and Kristi Noem

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