FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative is launching a new leadership program, FarmFirst Future Dairy Leaders, focused on enhancing members’ leadership skills and their understanding of cooperative business practices.
Open to all members, this program complements FarmFirst’s Young Cooperator program, which develops future cooperative leaders through educational, social and leadership events.
“This is an exciting opportunity for members to learn more about the industry, from meeting cheesemakers and dairy processors to learning more about evolving consumer trends, how dairy policy and federal orders work, and the role cooperatives play. Members will gain an insider perspective of so many different aspects of the industry while also building their own leadership skills,” says Stephanie Hughes, a dairy farmer from Pittsville, Wis., and chair of the Young Cooperator Executive Committee.
The program consists of four one-day classes throughout the year. Members will gain a greater understanding of what it means to be a cooperative member and the role members play in guiding the organization into the future. Three themes make up the yearlong program:
- Discovering Your Strengths and Understanding Cooperative Business, March 4
- Understanding Your Industry, April 8 and Aug. 19
- Raising Your Voice, Oct. 21
Participants will meet and network with dairy leaders, including dairy plant owners, cheesemakers, dairy economists and other dairy cooperative leaders, as well as state and federal government agency experts.
“We wanted this program to focus on developing the leadership skills of members of all ages, not just the youngest generation,” says Travis Clark, a dairy farmer from Rosendale, Wis. and vice chair of the Young Cooperator Executive Committee. “The program is designed to connect dairy farmers with other dairy farmers and other leaders. Processors, economists, experts — leaders from all across the industry are a part of the 2020 leadership program.”
“Working with a smaller group over four days during the year allows for more one-on-one learning,” says Julie Sweney, director of communications and marketing for FarmFirst. “There’s so much in our industry to learn about, and this program is a great opportunity for members to see how segments of the industry are connected together.”
FarmFirst members are encouraged to learn more about the program by visiting bit.ly/FarmFirstLeadership or by calling FarmFirst at 608-244-3373. Meetings are tentatively set for Madison, Wis. Spots are limited. Interested members should complete the simple online application as soon as possible. Applications are due Jan. 13.