Casey Schlichting

ISA District 2 Director Casey Schlichting recommends farmers apply to participate in the ASA Corteva Young Leader Program (Photo: Iowa Soybean Association)

Farmers encouraged to apply for the ASA Corteva Young Leader Program

September 16, 2021 | Bethany Baratta

A strong peer network, more insights on the soybean checkoff and further development of leadership and communication skills. All of this and more awaits young farmers selected for the American Soybean Association (ASA) and Corteva Agriscience 2021-22 ASA Corteva Young Leader Program.

Applications for the program are open for farmers and couples actively farming.

The Young Leader Program is a two-phase educational program for actively farming individuals and couples who are passionate about the future of agriculture. The women and men who participate in this program will be the leaders that shape the future of agriculture. Phase I of the 2021-22 ASA Corteva Young Leader program will take place Nov. 30–Dec. 3, 2021, at Corteva’s Global Business Center in Johnston. The program continues March 8–12, 2022, in New Orleans, Louisiana, in conjunction with the annual Commodity Classic Convention and Trade Show.

Eye-opening experience

Being a part of the program was an eye-opening experience for Clear Lake farmer Casey Schlichting.

“The whole ASA Young Leader Program is designed to get you out of your shell and to network, but the real value to the program is the people you meet,” Schlichting said.

 He keeps in touch with more than half of the participants he went through the program with.

 Reed Burres, an ISA farmer member from Humboldt shared a similar experience.

 “It was a great opportunity to build connections and network with other agriculturalists from all across the country and better understand how though we are different in growing practices, we are ultimately tied together through production agriculture,” Burres said.

 Burres is a member of the ISA District Advisory Council.

Better understanding of soybean industry

 Schlichting not only grew his personal network, but also became more familiar with how the soybean checkoff works.

“I learned a tremendous amount about where my checkoff dollars go,” Schlichting said. “I think that’s the most misunderstood aspect about what we do.”

ASA, the Grain Farmers of Ontario, and Corteva Agriscience works with the 26 soy state affiliates to identify the top producers to represent their states as part of this program.

Meeting farmers from across the country was a highlight, Schlichting said.

“You meet people from all over and learn what their operations are like,” he said. “Listening to discussions before and after the ASA policy conference gives you a better understanding why states feel a certain way on a certain subject brought up during policy discussions.”

He continued: “You realize that it’s not just farmers in the ‘I’ states who grow soybeans.”

The ASA Young Leader Program was a launch point for Schlichting, who then ran for—and was elected to—a seat on the ISA board. Schlichting serves as a director in district 2.

“There’s not a lot of farmers, even fewer young farmers, and even fewer young farmers who want to donate time and energy toward a commodity group,” Schlichting said. “This program presents the opportunity to get off the farm and get involved.”

Apply here: Young Leader Program | American Soybean Association (