An Alta farmer has been selected to participate in the 2002 Ag Leaders Institute, joining 23 other Farm Bureau members who will learn leadership and communication skills in the prestigious program.
Marty Broich, the coordinator of the Vista Pork Program, was nominated to attend the institute by the Buena Vista County Farm Bureau, and will receive the latest information about critical agricultural issues and develop skills for leading Iowa's farmers in the future.
Vince Davis, a regional manager for Farm Bureau whose district includes Buena Vista County, said it was quite an achievement for Broich to be selected to be picked to attend the institute.
"It's quite an honor to get selected for this," Davis, who helped send Broich's application to the statewide Farm Bureau, said. "There's only a select group of people that get to go to this, and it's something that will help him with the rest of his Farm Bureau duties, and it's something that will help him become an even better leader."
"It's a very distinguished group made up of people who have leadership potential, and I would say that it is definitely an honor to get to be a part of the Ag Institute," Aaron Putze, Farm Bureau public relations director, said. "The applications are all viewed upon the merits of the individual - not county lines or type of farming operation or how big the operation is - and Marty is one of those people who was definitely qualified to do this."
"I was very pleased to be chosen," said Broich, who has served on the county Farm Bureau Board for six years. "Just being nominated for this was something that I was happy about, and it was pretty exciting when I was accepted for this."
Participants in the institute, which began five years ago, attended their first meeting in January in Des Moines, and will be present at eight such meetings and seminars throughout the year, culminating with their graduation from the program at the Iowa Farm Bureau annual meeting in November.
Broich and others will work with such subjects as value-added agriculture and entrepreneurship, and will be taught how to develop leadership skills such as public speaking, talking about agriculture with members of the media and engaging fellow farmers in conversations about agricultural issues.
The 23 members will attend the Farm Family Leadership Conference in August, and will also have an opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. in September, where they will get the chance to meet national officials such as the Secretary of Agriculture and members of Congress.
Davis said the institute was started to give farmers - especially those with smaller operations - across the state a forum to help them become better leaders and better representatives of the entire farming community for members of the non-farming public.
"There's been a decrease in the number of farmers over the past few years, and this is a way to further agriculture in a positive way," Davis said. "It's also valuable for smaller farmers, because sometimes large-scale producers think they can do it on their own, but owners of small-scale operations know that they have to combine their efforts in order to survive and get the word out about agriculture. That's what the main purpose of the institute is."
"It's intended to help people like Marty meet others across the state and form good, solid relationships," Putze said. "It's something that is going to help those who attend and even those who don't attend."