Bayer Leadership Program: Access this Benefit as Member of NAWG

While there are many benefits to belonging to a national organization, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) uniquely offers the chance for its members, at no cost, to participate in some leadership development programs. NAWG has a longstanding partnership with Bayer who works with us to provide a three-part leadership training course for our growers. The Bayer Leadership Program occurs annually and is carried out by NAWG staff.

Part I of the program focuses on policy and leadership training and is attached to NAWG’s Fall Conference as an added convenience for our growers. Part II of the program focuses on media training and even includes mock press interviews. This second part of the program is attached to NAWG’s Winter Conference program, again to minimize our growers’ time away from the farm. The Bayer Leadership Program allows only 10 participants for each Part and encourages those growers who went through Part I of the Program to go through Part II of the program.

Here is a snapshot of this year’s program. Part I of the Program took place during NAWG’s Fall 2019 conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Marlene Eick, Live Your Story, led a day and a half workshop focused on how growers can take that next step to becoming a leader. Participants took a StrengthsQuest assessment to help them identify, understand and maximize their strengths so they can excel as leaders or find out how to take on a leadership role either in their organization, work, or everyday life.

Participating growers received a classroom style lecture on agriculture policy from Dr. Jonathan Coppess of the College of Agriculture and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. In his presentation, Dr. Coppess connects the history of federal agricultural policy development to current policy development with this year focused on the Farm Bill, climate change, and trade.

Part I of the Bayer Leadership Program concluded with a presentation on regulatory consumer advocacy from Bayer. Bayer representatives illustrated how advocacy plays an enormous role in how policymakers and consumers view wheat products. Participants learned about Bayer’s current research and other activities as they relate specifically to wheat.

Part II of the training course continued at NAWG’s 2020 Winter Conference in Washington, D.C. Participants underwent media training from FleishmanHillard Inc., a leading public relations firm. Here, growers participated in a day and a half workshop which consisted of on-camera mock interviews and training on how to stay on message when talking to press. Growers also trained on best practices when in a meeting with their Member of Congress or State Representatives.

The third and final part of the program will include training for the NAWG officers and committee chairs on parliamentary procedure and best practices for facilitating meetings.  Our objective with this training will be to continue strengthening the effectiveness and efficiency of future conference calls and in-person meetings.

The Bayer Leadership Program would not be possible without Bayer and NAWG’s longstanding partnership with the company. To learn more about the program, visit