Leadership Institute

ASFMRA Leadership Institute


The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers will host its 2021 Leadership Institute, sponsored by Pioneer, September 15-17 in Des Moines, Iowa.


Many ASFMRA Chapters provide scholarships for one or two members of their Chapter to attend the Leadership Institute. The scholarship typically covers tuition and lodging during the Leadership Institute however details may vary based on each individual Chapter.  To find out if your Chapter provides a scholarship please contact your Chapter Secretary. 

About the ASFMRA Leadership Institute

Leadership Institute, sponsored by Pioneer, is your chance to get hands-on leadership training that you can apply to both your personal and professional life. When you participate in Leadership Institute, you have the opportunity to meet influential government officials, receive top-notch communication and advocacy training, and network with other rising rural land experts while discussing the biggest issues facing ag policy today.

Come to Leadership Institute to unlock and discover your leadership potential!


Terry Branstad

Former Ambassador to China and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, the longest-serving governor of any state in American history, will keynote on Sept. 17. His tenure as Iowa governor spanned more than 22 years, from 1983 to 1999 and from 2011 to 2017. The Farm Crisis of the ‘80s hit during his first term as governor, when land values in Iowa dropped 63 percent. Mr. Branstad served as United States Ambassador to China from 2017 to 2020 under President Trump.

Steve Elmore

Steve Elmore is the Economics and Strategic Marketing Intelligence Lead for Corteva, and was the leading economist for DuPont Pioneer before that. Earlier in his career, Mr. Elmore worked as the U.S. Agriculture Market and Policy Analyst for the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) in the Economics Department at Iowa State University.

Senator Joni Ernst

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst is the first female to serve in federal elected office from the State of Iowa and the first female combat veteran in the U.S. Senate. She serves on the Agriculture and Nutrition and Forestry committees. The former farm girl from Southwest Iowa will address the group via video conference.

Stephen Frerichs

Stephen Frerichs is the ASFMRA’s Government Relations Representative and owns and operates his own consulting company, AgVantage LLC in Alexandria, Virginia. Mr. Frerichs specializes in budget, agricultural and credit issues and has over 30 years of agricultural policy experience in Washington, D.C.

Senator Chuck Grassley

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley is the 10th longest-serving senator in history, one of only two active farmers in the U.S. Senate. Mr. Grassley is Senate President pro-tempore emeritus and was third in line of succession to the presidency under the Trump administration. He has held leadership positions on the Agriculture and Judiciary committees and has not missed a vote since 1993. He will answer questions from LI participants via video.

Mike Naig

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig was elected to his post in 2018. As Ag Secretary, Mr. Naig is focused on expanding markets, promoting careers in agriculture, and improving water quality and land stewardship. He will address Leadership Institute at the Terrace Hill Welcome Reception on Sept. 15.

Bill Northey

Bill Northey served as USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, overseeing the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Risk Management Agency, and the Farm Service Agency from 2018 to 2021. The fourth-generation Northwest Iowa farmer served as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture from 2006 to 2018, and prior to that as president of the National Corn Growers Association.

Dave Price

Dave Price is WHO-TV Political Director and host of the Sunday morning TV show “The Insiders.” Mr. Price has earned national Emmy and Edward R. Murrow awards and is widely regarded as one of the most respected and fair political reporters in the Midwest. He authored two books spotlighting the Iowa Presidential Caucuses and their influence on the most powerful office in the world.

Glen Smith

Glen R. Smith, ARA was designated chairman and CEO of the Farm Credit Administration (FCA) by President Donald Trump on July 17, 2019. Prior to his tenure with the FCA, Mr. Smith owned a farm management, land appraisal, and farmland brokerage company in Iowa. He also previously served as President of the Iowa Chapter of the ASFMRA.

Eileen Wixted

Eileen Wixted is a nationally recognized strategic communications and crisis management veteran who specializes in the financial services, nuclear energy, agribusiness, and health care industries. As a strategist and communications trainer, she has helped clients navigate brand damaging issues as well as coached them to face hostile media interviews and government investigations.

Dr. Wendong Zhang

Dr. Wendong Zhang is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University since August 2015. His research seeks to better understand U.S. farmland market, agricultural water conservation, and Chinese agriculture. Dr. Zhang also serves as the Academic Vice President for the ASFMRA's Iowa Chapter.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Why should I attend the Leadership Institute?

A: The American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers' Leadership Institute, sponsored by Pioneer, is a unique opportunity for ASFMRA members to enhance their leadership skills and gain unprecedented access to key decision makers shaping our nation’s agricultural policy. Those who attend will receive top-notch communications and advocacy training, discuss industry issues with policymakers, and build relationships with other up-and-coming ag land professionals. You will leave the Leadership Institute with enhanced leadership skills, a better understanding of government policy and new connections with people across the country. 

Q: Who should attend ASFMRA’s Leadership Institute?

A: Any ASFMRA member who wishes to improve their leadership skills, enhance their understanding of ag policy and build their network of contacts.

Q: How can do I get a scholarship to go the Leadership Institute?

A: There are two ways an individual can receive a scholarship to attend the Leadership Institute. The first is through your employer. The second is through your ASFMRA local Chapter. To find out if your Chapter provides scholarships please contact your Chapter Secretary.

Q: My Chapter is paying for my registration fees, how do I complete my registration without payment?

A: When an ASFMRA Chapter provides a scholarship to an individual to attend Leadership Institute the Chapter will provide a reimbursement for the portion they are covering. It is up to the individual to pay all registration fees up front and contact their respective Chapter for reimbursement.