The Cultivating Leadership for a Changing Agriculture (CLCA) program is helping individuals, organizations and collaborations achieve positive change in agriculture through (1) Leadership training for individuals, (2) Helping agricultural organizations improve their management and strategic effectiveness, and (3) Fostering better understanding and working relationships among diverse constituencies.
The CLCA is itself a collaboration of diverse groups, namely the Council of Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) and the Institute for Conservation Leadership. That unlikely program partnership is finding success as the trainers are modeling the spirit of partnership in the workshops they are holding.
For example, CLCA assisted the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society, the Crop Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy to work together on a new model for participatory plant breeding where farmers will partner with plant breeders, agronomists, land-grant universities and scientific societies to save genetic strains. The project has gained a large number of partners in addition to those attending the Shared Leadership workshops.
Since 2001 the program has served 51 organizations and 158 participants directly, and many more are involved through follow-up consulting and outreach. Workshops have been attended by 15 CAST member organizations, 27 non-profit sustainable agriculture organizations and nine university-based centers.
“I don’t think the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) would be as far along as it is, and have made the strides that it has made, without the whole CLCA program. I really believe that strongly. It has just got us immediately thinking outside our traditional boxes,” said the ASHS’s Michael Neff.