AgOne Program Makes a Leading Impact

September 6, 2022 Ohio Soybean Council

By Maggie Good, AgOne Program Director

Agricultural leaders are generous in their service by giving their time and talents to advance the mission of their organizations. Driven by passion, leaders in our industry make a meaningful impact in the boardroom where decisions are being made that affect farms and family businesses like theirs. This impact becomes even more powerful as they are equipped with the tools needed to lead well.

Earlier this year Ohio State’s Leadership Center launched AgOne, a new, year-long program for agricultural industry board members to focus on self-leadership, team leadership, and stewardship to help these leaders leverage that board impact even more. The program, a partnership between The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership, and the OSU Leadership Center is poised to bring expertise in business, leadership, and boardmanship to Ohio’s agriculture industry.

Throughout the program, members complete skill and behavior assessments, receive one-on-one coaching sessions, attend in-person and virtual workshops, participate in group discussions, and expand personal networks. Participants go through training on a variety of topics allowing participants to dive into their strengths and weaknesses, learn how to communicate with others, and understand their influence.

AgOne is designed to transform individual influence for industry impact through leadership and boardsmanship training. Cohort  embers serve as board members within the organizations that nominate them and are looking to take the next steps in their leadership journey. Upon graduation, they will earn a Foundational Leadership Certificate from The Ohio State University, develop a leadership plan for their future, and strengthen their network, all aimed at gaining a better understanding of board effectiveness.

Nathan Eckel, a row crop and beef producer from Wood County, and Ohio Soybean Council Board member, has been a part of the inaugural cohort of the program. He joins individuals from the boards of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Ohio Corn & Wheat Association, and the Ohio Poultry Association, allowing him to learn how other leaders serve their organizations and manage their operations. When asked what he has gained from the program he said, “I have never done this much self-reflection before. The AgOne program has given me the opportunity to look at my  strengths and weaknesses and think about how I can best lead in the agriculture industry and on our farm. I am learning how to communicate with other leaders by listening effectively. Connecting with others without an agricultural background has allowed me to share my story and connect on similar challenges we all face.”

Eckel will graduate from the AgOne program in December of this year with a leadership plan for how he can continue to be an asset to the agriculture industry, the Ohio Soybean Council, his community, and beyond.

The OSU Leadership Center will host two cohorts of AgOne each year beginning in August and January. If you are a board member or an aspiring board member and are interested in participating in the program visit for the application periods and more information.

First AgOne cohort. From left to right: Maggie Good, OSU Leadership Center; John Linder, Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association; Mike Videkovich, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation; Nathan Eckel, Ohio Soybean Council; Chris Weaver, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation; Sandra Lausecker, Ohio Poultry Association; Rose Hartschuh, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation; Dr. Jeff King, OSU Leadership Center