NIAA selects third cohort of animal agriculture leaders

Twenty leaders represent diverse range of agricultural sectors to advance livestock's role in today’s food system.

January 22, 2024

2 Min Read

The third class participating in the National Institute for Animal Agriculture’s Advanced Training for Animal Agriculture Leaders has been selected and will convene for their first session in Chicago in February 2024.

NIAA established the leadership program in 2021 to provide an opportunity for animal agriculture leaders to gain next-level leadership and professional development training. What makes the Advanced Training for Animal Agriculture Leaders unique is that its curriculum and experience is co-designed by the leadership cohort and is specifically designed for the animal agriculture segment of the industry.

The 16-month program is sponsored by the United Soybean Board and Farm Credit and was created by NIAA to empower professionals in the early to midpart of their careers to build on previous leadership development experiences and collaborate with peers across the industry. The cohort attends five in-person meetings with additional virtual working sessions to focus on four areas of development: critical thinking, leadership development, connecting and relating skills, and operational excellence. A presentation of a group capstone project will complete Cohort 3’s leadership training at NIAA’s Annual Conference in April 2025.

“Part of NIAA’s mission is to foster collaboration and cooperation throughout the industry. This program was intentionally developed to build upon existing leadership experiences, so professionals advance their skills – specifically, collaboration,” said Eric Moore, NIAA board chairman. “It was important to me to participate in the inaugural cohort and it has been an enriching experience for me and my fellow leaders.”

There were more than 50 very capable applicants for the Advanced Training for Animal Agriculture Leaders. The third cohort represents 20 leaders in a diverse range of agricultural sectors to advance animal agriculture’s role in today’s food system. NIAA welcomes:

  • Johnna Baller-Granville – Genus ABS

  • Ryan Bennett – U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry & Eggs and International Poultry Welfare Alliance

  • Kristi Block – North American Meat Institute

  • Sarah Coleman – The Kentucky Horse Council

  • Rose Digianantonio – State of Wyoming Livestock Board

  • Will Fiske – Neogen Genomics

  • Chelsea Good, JD – Livestock Marketing Association

  • Rita Harkless – Perdue Foods

  • Blaine Johnson – Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine

  • Tanner King – Neogen Genomics

  • Ashley Kohls – Minnesota Turkey Growers Association

  • Jennifer Koziol – Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine

  • Rahul Kumar – Zoetis, Inc.

  • Megan McCullough – North American Meat Institute

  • Emmanuel Okello – University of California, Davis

  • Kelli Payne – Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation

  • Hanna Robbins – Butterball

  • Dakota Thomas – Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO)

  • Jackson Tolle – United Producers, Inc.

  • Hattie Webb – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

To learn more about the program, it’s sponsors and how to participate in the next cohort, visit the website.

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