ASA and Monsanto company announced they will partner on a National/State Board & Staff Leadership Training program for 1997. “The program calls for a comprehensive, educational and hands-on training experience that is ASA specific throughout its design, development and implementation,” stated Ron Eickhorst, ASA Corporate Relations Director. “We appreciate the support pledged by Monsanto to make this program possible,” Eickhorst added. ASA is a national, not-for-profit, nonpartisan, volunteer, farmer-controlled commodity organization with 30,000 members that works to strengthen soybeans as an economically and environmentally sound cropping opportunity in the best interest of soybean growers and the public.”Association leadership training is essential to provide the skills needed to further the interests of soybean producers,” according to Jim Nagel, ASA Marketing & Membership Director. “ASA producer leaders are very active in policy and trade issues at state, national and international levels. They are frequently called upon to testify before Congress, and often provide information to Administration officials and foreign trade representatives,” Nagel added. Soybeans accounted for 26% of all U.S. crop acres planted in 1995, and represented a farm gate value of more than $14.5 billion.The initial focus of the program will be on equipping members of ASA’s national Board to more effectively and efficiently carry out their responsibilities, including service as a member of the ASA Executive Committee, such as Chairman, President, First Vice President, or Vice President, or a Committee Chair or Committee member. Interactive learning methods, role modeling and work/study sessions will be used in a contemporary and fun atmosphere to maximize overall participant value and program effectiveness. The first training sessions will take place in March during ASA’s Board meetings in Washington, D.C.Education/training sessions for State Boards, State Presidents and State Executive Directors will also begin during 1997. Trainers/presenters will take this leadership program out to the individual states. ASA Board members, State Board members and State Presidents are volunteer positions. State Executive Directors are staff positions.