By Jenna Mignano
By the time you read this, some of agriculture’s finest young leaders—this year’s ProFILE class—will be traveling the roads of Pennsylvania as part of the program’s grand finale. And I’ll be right there with them—my fifth and final as a facilitator of this dynamic leadership program. It’s bittersweet for me as I reflect upon the past nine years of my involvement.
During that time, I’ve seen shy, timid individuals blossom into confident public speakers. I’ve seen bonds form that I know will be lifelong friendships. But most of all, I’ve seen how impressive our next generation of farmers are.
Whenever you hear dreary news about our industry, do not be fooled; we have a very bright future ahead of us!
This week as we visit the great Northeast, our ProFILE leaders will encounter industry movers and shakers—with a little bit of fun thrown into the mix as well. Here’s a glimpse what our members will be up to:
Some road time is scheduled for today, and in Ohio we’ll meet with representatives from Firestone Ag Tires to learn more about their production process, then continue on our way to Pennsylvania.
Our first stop of the day is Knouse Foods in Peach Glen, Pennsylvania, where we’ll see and hear about their six fruit processing plants devoted to products such as their Lucky Leaf pie filling and Musselman’s apple sauce.
Then we’ll head over to Snyder’s of Hanover to sample their long line of pretzel products.
As we move through the state, we’ll get a history lesson, stopping at Gettysburg before dinner at Dobbin House, the oldest, most historic home in the area.
We rise and shine early as we hit Washington, D.C. While in town, we’ll meet with American Farm Bureau staff and get a debrief on governmental affairs.
A trip up Capitol Hill will have us meeting with congressional staff.
The evening will have us doing a little sightseeing followed by dinner at some of the city’s most entertaining restaurants.
No rest for the weary! We hop back on the bus bright and early and head north to Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania. A tour of campus will lead us to lunch and a crash course in dairy production at their creamery.
From Happy Valley we head north to Canada and Niagara Falls.
We’re homeward bound today but not before a stop at the Office of the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers’ Association, where we’ll learn about production processes from our great neighbors to the north and east.
One more stop has us meeting with representatives from the Farm and Food Care of Ontario before heading back to Lansing.
And when we get home, we will be tired! We will have logged many miles on foot and by bus, but one thing is for sure, we will have had a fun and memorable experience.
As I have told every class that I’ve been part of, you may have other opportunities to develop your skills and leadership styles throughout your lives. You may have experiences others may never have. But I guarantee you will leave this program with a better understanding of our industry, of each other and most of all of yourself. This particular less-traveled road is rewarding one, and all who arrive at its destination are better off for the experience.
I want to personally thank all the members I’ve had the opportunity to serve in this role over the past nine years. You not only taught me life lessons, you made me a better leader.
Jenna Mignano manages Michigan Farm Bureau’s Member Communications & Relations Department.
Wait: What’s ProFILE again?
Tailored to Farm Bureau members between the ages of 25-35, Michigan Farm Bureau’s Institute for Leadership Education—ProFILE—is a leadership experience for a select group of agriculture’s most promising future leaders. For more information, click here.