In 2014, ACI launched the Emerging Professionals Leadership Program (EPLP) to help grow a leadership pipeline and ensure a strong future for Indiana's agribusinesses. The EPLP is a one-year program providing substantive discussions on some of today's most critical issues and introducing class members to key industry and policy leaders.  

On October 4th, the 2017 Emerging Professionals participated in their 5th session of their year-long program with a focus on Specialty Crops:  Adding Value Through Diversification.  They began their day at Red Gold Farms in Orestes, Indiana with a tour from Steve Smith, Director of Agriculture.  It was an incredible opportunity for a behind-the-scenes view of the processing, health and safety issues they face.  The group then heard from Casie Conley, Indiana Farm Bureau Regional Manager over lunch in Alexandria.  She shared Farm Bureau’s programs and their desire to be the Voice of Indiana Agriculture.  The final stop of the day was in Middletown, Indiana at the Howell Farms.  They are a multi-generational family farm focusing on pumpkin and the diversification of using their family farm to introduce agriculture to school groups.  Indiana agriculture has certainly demonstrated its focus on diversification through companies like these.

On September 19-21st, the 2017 Emerging Professionals had the opportunity to tour Washington D.C. They visited the U.S. Department of Agriculture, met with Senator Todd Young’s staff, toured the Capitol, and visited the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.  At the U.S. Department of Agriculture the EPLP met several different Government Affairs people.  A few of the speakers included Robbie Boone VP GA Farm Credit, Kellie Bray Director GA Croplife, and Justin Loucheim Director GA The Fertilizer Institute who spoke about the Rebuild Rural Coalition. The Rebuild Rural Infrastructure Coalition is comprised of more than 200 organizations from across the country focused on rural communities, U.S. agricultural producers, rural businesses, and rural families. They are dedicated to advocating investment in rural America’s infrastructure and understand that rural America’s infrastructure needs are fundamentally different. It was so interesting to learn of all the different components they are working on including AG research, broadband, energy, financing, healthcare, housing, transportation, and water.  Touring the Eisenhower Executive Office Building was exceptionally memorable. They do not do outside tours so it was an incredible opportunity. It was originally built for the State, War, and Navy departments between 1871 and 1888. The Eisenhower Executive Office Building now houses the majority of offices for White House staff.  We saw several aspects of the building including the vice president’s office and sat at his famous desk.  The trip went fast, but the entire group enjoyed the unique opportunity to visit the nation’s capital and learn more about the importance of legislation and its involvement in the agricultural communities.




For more information about the program, the application process and to see agendas for each session over the past two years, see the links below.