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ILEAD Class 8 Session 3

Posted on April 5, 2017 at 2:50 PM by Iowa Corn

This session our blog was written by ILEAD class member Katie Kramer. Here is a little more information about Katie.


My name is Katie Kramer.  I graduated with a BA in Business Administration from Graceland University in 2006 and worked in the banking industry about three and a half years before beginning my journey with the Farm Service Agency.  In 2009, I accepted a position as a Program Technician in the Calhoun County FSA office.  Then in late 2010, I was accepted into the County Operations Trainee program, which is a training program for managers within FSA.  In June of 2012, I was hired as the County Executive Director for the Jasper County FSA which is where I have been ever since.  I truly enjoy working with the producers in Jasper County and never have the same day twice.  My husband, Steve and I live on an acreage outside of Reasnor, Iowa, where we raise our children Jett (6) and Quinn (1). 


I-LEAD VIII met for a packed Session #3 on March 23rd and 24th.  The session started off by heading to the state capitol.  We first met with Mindy Larsen Poldberg, ICGA Director of Government Relations, to discuss the three primary legislative topics to bring up with our legislators.  The three topics we discussed were Section 179 and the importance of this bill for tax purposes, the continued support of funding for water quality practices, and the importance of maintaining Iowa’s biofuel infrastructure program.  Mindy also gave us a quick run-down of how to request time with our representatives when we headed upstairs.  The interesting thing about meeting at the capitol is the demand for space.  During our short meeting, we started in one room and had to finish up our discussion in another meeting room.

Our next move was to meet with Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds.  Lt. Governor Reynolds talked briefly about her background, but wanted to know more about I-LEAD VIII, who we were and what we were about.  After discussing I-LEAD, we were able to start with our legislative topics and Section 179, which also led to the first time we would hear about the budget shortfall on the day, but certainly not the last time.  We wrapped up with a group photo, which we will soon be able to say we had our picture taken with the first female governor of Iowa.  At this time, Governor Branstad is expected to be confirmed as Ambassador to China sometime in April.

Next on our agenda was meeting with our local elected officials.  The House had just finished their work for the week, so we all headed to the House Chamber first to try and catch them before they left.  I was able to catch Senator Amy Sinclair and talked with her about Section 179.  The common theme was again echoed that she was very much in favor of wanting a long-term coupling plan for the farmers of Iowa, however the budget is making things very difficult to find the funding needed for Section 179.  One very neat opportunity our class had was thanks to Representative David Sieck, we all were able to go down to the floor of the House Chamber and have our picture taken. 

We wrapped up our morning with a tour of the capitol building compliments of Mindy and then we were off to lunch.

We returned to the Iowa Corn office and met with Chad Hart, aka Dr. Doom, who was awfully optimistic considering his self-proclaimed nickname.  His advice as to the most important piece of the ag economic outlook is trade and any deals the new administration makes or changes.  One thing I found interesting, was Dr. Hart mentioned during his presentation that currently, protein is driving demand in the global market.  Countries, such as India, are moving from plant based proteins to animal proteins, which opens markets for the US.   Dr. Hart also presented information on acres planted, production and usage of corn, and highlighted the next Farm Bill.

The evening was based on the book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.  First, the class discussed the five dysfunctions as a group, which was then followed by an evening of improv with Jimmy from THEY Improv.  The five dysfunctions are Absence of Trust, Fear of Conflict, Lack of Commitment, Avoidance of Accountability, and Inattention to Results.  As we moved through each of the dysfunctions with Jimmy through the improv practices, there was a whole lot of laughter and trust being built.

Day two started with breakfast with the central Iowa YPiA (Young Professionals in Ag) at the FFA Enrichment Center.  Each I-LEAD member was seated at a table with other young professionals as well as executives from all areas of the ag industry.  It was an opportunity to discuss many different topics with a professional.  During the breakfast, a panel consisting of Mark Core, Vermeer, Janelle Thomas, Landus Cooperative, and Wendy Wintersteen, Dean of the College of Ag and Life Sciences at ISU, offered their perspective of change within their respective organizations.  Change is inevitable, and to be the leader of any industry, people within the company must embrace change to continue to be the leader.

After breakfast, the class met at Hotel Renovo to have a short meeting on International Mission Fundraising plan.  As part of the fundraising committee, I feel we had a good product to start the discussion with and through the participation of everyone, we made some progress on the direction we felt would be the most productive.  We assigned team leads for the larger corporations and pushed the accountability aspect of the plan…keeping each other accountable will be key!

We ended the day working jointly with the Farm Bureau Ag Leaders Institute class and starting our preparation for Corn Congress in July. 

Again, what another great experience with I-LEAD VIII.  The session was jam-packed with great information and opportunities for all of us.  With each session, I feel I can speak for all of us that we are more excited for the next.

Tagged As: ILEAD

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