Montana Farm Bureau is now accepting applications for its 2020 ACE (Advocate. Communicate. Educate.) program. The ACE program is designed to empower Farm Bureau members to actively advocate on key industry issues and be confident, effective leaders in their County Farm Bureau and local communities. The focus of the program is built around three primary objectives: developing leaders, engaging local communities and becoming educated on key industry issues.
“Participants will refine and establish premiere leadership and advocacy skills necessary to effectively communicate industry issues, represent Farm Bureau interests and agriculture at a local, state and national level and welcome new leadership responsibilities within their county and state Farm Bureau,” said ACE Coordinator Chelcie Cargill. “They will practice public speaking and learn to address the media and non-ag audiences.”
Cargill added that in addition to learning about networking and advocacy, participants will learn about engaging in local communities and their county Farm Bureau. This section of the program will teach about the importance of networking across local communities.
Learning about key industry issues is the third leg of training for participants. “We teach them to identify fundamental agriculture issues as well as create relationships with members who have knowledge and expertise in other areas,” said Cargill.
Rhonda Hergenrider, a diversified farmer from Bridger, will graduate from the 2019 ACE Program Class during the Montana Farm Bureau Annual Convention Wednesday, Nov. 13, in Billings.
“I learned that opinions are more easily swayed by building relationships complete with empathy and humanness, and not the bombardment of facts,” said Hergenrider. “I enjoyed all of the sessions and thought they were well worth the time. I especially learned so much in our initial session with Sarah Bohnenkamp, particularly regarding empathetic listening. I thought the most challenging session was media training. I would have never guessed I would have found it so thought-provoking, as my degree is in Ag Communications and I have some media experience. There is so much offered at this training, I encourage other farmers and ranchers to apply to be a part of this amazing program.”
The class of 2019 included Kathy Teter, Huntley; Rhonda Hergenrider, Bridger; Cyndi Johnson, Conrad; Jess Bandel, Floweree; Doreen Gillespie, Shelby; JM Peck, Melrose; and Bill McLean, Brady.