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Investing in Tomorrow’s Leaders

TAGS: Management


The summer season is in full swing and my Road Warrior travels are taking me to various venues to address youth and their educators, including the National FFA, National Institute on Cooperative Education (NICE), and the NC Career Technology Conference, as well as other youth groups. The groups are full of energy and are open-minded to ideas about managing in tomorrow's agriculture industry.

One program that has been extremely effective in developing youth has been the Nebraska Bankers Association’s and the University of Nebraska's joint internship program under the leadership of Ron Hanson, who has been an outstanding teacher for the “Big Red” for a number of years.

Through a collaborative effort by the industry and university, students are presented an opportunity to intern with various banks in a wide range of job responsibilities. These internships allow the bank to get a long-term view of potential employees with more than just a brief interview experience. Students have an opportunity to experience the bank’s culture and gain perspective of the everyday working environment in the bank as well.

Another opportunity the Nebraska Bankers Association provides are producer/lender/student seminars each spring. Last year, one of Hanson's outstanding students, Gavin Kenney, attended my seminar. I asked him to present the highlights of what he had learned from my presentation that day to the group of 150 in attendance. What a stellar performance! Next, I asked him to develop a series of PowerPoint slides summarizing my seminar to present to Hanson's class at the University of Nebraska. Wow! Gavin did a professional job! This illustrates Hanson's and the Nebraska Bankers Association’s commitment to the future of our industry, but better yet, a young person taking the bull by the horns and making the most of the experience.


Highlights from Gavin's PowerPoint presentation:

  • We are in a 9-year commodity super cycle
    • 100% chance it will last 10 years
    • 50% chance it will last 5 more years
    • Less than 10% chance it will last 10 more years

Folks, these predictions were made last winter. You can feel the world economy slowing at a rapid rate, which will eventually catch up to commodity prices. The recent drought has created an aberration because of supply and demand imbalance.


Editor’s note: Dave Kohl, Corn & Soybean Digest trends editor, is an ag economist specializing in business management and ag finance. He recently retired from Virginia Tech, but continues to conduct applied research and travel extensively in the U.S. and Canada, teaching ag and banking seminars and speaking to producer and agribusiness groups. He can be reached at

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