Leadership Training Helps Equip Members of New Ag LLCs
James H. Jensen
, field management
The state of Iowa has been promoting the value-added concept for a number of
years now as a method of combating the low profits associated with growing commodity
crops. Progress in expanding the value-added sector of the Iowa economy has
been slow. A few groups are attempting to organize and enter the value-added
arena, but most lack experience in both group interaction and the process of
working together to help everyone involved. Iowa farmers are very independent
by nature and not accustomed to working in groups. These new value-added groups
need assistance in establishing and operating a value-added business.
Iowa State University Extension has been assisting new start-up agriculture
organizations by offering organizational development assistance to further promote
value-added production. Limited Liability Corporations (LLC) seem to be the
organizational method of choice at the present time. Iowa State University Extension
designed and offered a series of three-day leadership training that dealt directly
with the problems being experienced by start-up agricultural LLCs. Training
topics included: conflict resolution, legal aspects of LLCs, protecting assets,
bargaining as a unit, running effective meetings, finding your mission, and
identifying and using individual members strengths. Regionally and nationally
respected speakers were recruited to present these sessions. Funding to pay
the speakers was obtained through grants.
Thirty-two individuals from two statewide LLCs received instruction in essential
areas related to successfully organizing and maintaining an LLC. The information
was taken back to the 60 members of the combined groups and has been used extensively.
The groups have continued to expand their organizations and developed a more
business-like approach to the mission of their organizations. A major outcome
from this project is that these two LLCs have come back to ISU Extension for
additional assistance. A second major outcome is that the success of this project
has further established the important role that ISU Extension has in the development
and support of value-added agriculture in Iowa.
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