The second cohort of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture’s (NIAA) Advanced Training for Animal Agriculture Leaders completed their first in-person leadership training session in Kansas City, Mo.

In January, NIAA announced the second cohort of the Advanced Training for Animal Agriculture Leaders. This leadership training course is sponsored by the United Soybean Board and was created by NIAA to empower animal agriculture professionals to strengthen previous leadership development experiences and collaborate with peers across the industry.

During their time in Kansas City, Cohort participants met with Kansas City-based leaders in multiple sessions:

Innovation and investment in animal agriculture

  • Matt Musselman, chief operating officer at Dairy Farmers of America
  • Kimberly Young, president of the Animal Health Corridor
  • Duane Cantrell, managing partner and CEI of Fulcrum Global Capital
  • Kevin Heikes, co-founder of INTENT

Federal courthouse tour

This visit outlined the role of the Courts and insights into food and agriculture from a legal perspective.

  • Judge Stephen R. Bough, U.S. District Court Judge
  • David R. Erickson, partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP
  • Robert M. Thompson, partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

 Building on our traditions

Celebrating agriculture’s history as a foundation for our future.

  • Kerryann Kocher, CEO of Vytelle
  • Eric Moore, Director of Technical Services – North America at Noorbrook, Inc. and NIAA Chairman of the board
  • Jared Wareham, North America NuEra Business Development Manager at Genus ABS

 The second day of the training focused on strengths-based leadership development.

“Our first training session was extremely valuable. The time we spent collaborating and learning from our peers, understanding our personal strengths, and learning more about the rich agricultural history Kansas City boasts, gave us all excitement and anticipation for what’s still to come over the next 16 months.” said Kayla Rink, Senior Manager, Dairy Science and Farm Practices at Dairy Farmers of America and cohort member.

The second cohort of the Advanced Training for Animal Agriculture Leaders represents a range of agricultural sectors to advance animal agriculture’s role in today’s food system. Participants include Tressa Lacy, TransOva Genetics; Jared Bramer, Kemin Animal Nutrition & Health – North America; Amanda Butterfield, North American Meat Institute; TJ Flax, Dexer; Trisha Klement, Datamars Livestock; Phillip Lancaster, Kansas State University; Miriam Martin, North American Meat Institute; Chandler Mulvaney, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; Jake Renner, American Gelbvieh Association; Jennette Rietcheck, Norbrook; Kayla Rink, Dairy Farmers of America; Grant Sardella, ABS Global; Jennifer Schmitt, Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota; Austin Snook, Merck Animal Health; Sarah Thomas, The Ohio State University; Brandon Treichler, Treichler Consulting Services; Stephanie Ward, NC State University; Jonathan White, United Producers NC; Tim Bardole, United Soybean Board; and Shannon Ellis, United Soybean Board.

Learn more about the leadership program, its sponsors, and see pictures of Cohort 2’s visit to Kansas City, visit

Source: NIAA