Careers, Rural Matters

Rural Matters: Getting to Know Policy with Landus Young Professionals in Ag

Rural Matters 050724

“I’m not going to claim to know a lot about public policy, but I know the issues we deal with in our community, and we need to find solutions.”

Rodney Breeding, Landus Bradford Hub Lead

Rodney Breeding’s first memory is sitting in the tandem truck stuck between his grandfather and dad on the way to the Cooksville, IL grain elevator. Agriculture has run through his family for generations. Rodney has been around rural for nearly his entire early career and has kept a watchful eye on how the challenges that face his Bradford Hub also face his community. 

Rodney’s position at Landus brought him to the Young Professionals in Ag (YPiA) public policy panel in the Landus Connector office. 

The public policy panel featured (pictured below): Policy Director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Nathan Hohnstein; President & Founder of High Yield Strategies, Jake Swanson; Governor Reynolds Agriculture & Energy Policy Advisor, Lillie Brady; Director of Drake Agricultural Law Center & Associate Professor of Law, Jennifer Williams Zwagerman.

Nathan Hohnstein, Jake Swanson, Lillie Brady, and Jennifer Williams Zwagerman cover key topics that concern rural communities in the public policy space. (Photo from the YPiA Facebook page)

The YPiA organization is responsible for “Connecting young agricultural leaders through professional development, industry learning, and service opportunities.”

“I got a lot out of that panel. The people were passionate, and they were trying to embed that passion onto us and our communities,” said Rodney.

YPiAs relationship with Landus is still early. But with the growing Landus workforce that’s under 30 years old, Ladus and YPiA will have a common interest for many years to come.

Another YPiA policy panel attendee was Landus Grain ‪GROW Grain Marketing Advisor, Allie Oder. Allie has traveled the gambit of the southern United States for grain service—working in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. In these positions political involvement was minimal, but she later joined the National Grain and Feed Association where she was an apprentice on the National Grain and Feed Association's Trade Rules Committee for a year. Here, she learned about the lobbying process, and worked with ambassadors who spoke on behalf of entire industries.

Upon arriving at Landus, her responsibilities were rooted in grain, but she and her team challenged her to grow outside of her traditional responsibilities.

“I’ve only been here a year, and I haven’t joined anything yet. Prior to Landus, I’ve always been involved in something. When I saw that Landus was hosting the YPiA event in our office, I took the opportunity and I’m so happy I did. I ended up joining YPiA the next morning.”

Allie Oder, Landus GROW Grain Marketing Advisor

Elizabeth Burns-Thompson not only worked with YPiA to get this event set up, but she was a member of YPiA herself.

"I found lots of industry partners and friends through YPiA. There’s an invaluable option in having an outlet to meet other professionals in the industry that are your age. You never know when you’ll need a partner in grain, in chem, in policy, or wherever.”

Elizabeth Burns-Thompson, Landus VP of External Affairs

The panel covered lots of challenges the rural communities of Iowa are facing right now. To tackle those challenges, involvement from the young professionals will be instrumental. 

Rodney and Allie both found their way to Landus within the last year. Their involvement with their communities is exemplary of what YPiA is looking for and what #TheLandusWay embodies. 

“Ag is a big industry, but you’d be surprised on how intimate the fields of expertise can be. I’m excited to learn about all the facets of it and have the connections with people who can make our industry the best that it can be,” said Allie. 

Rodney works closely with his hub location's Chambers of Commerce. 

“We battle labor challenges every day. Our H2A program is great, but I want to find a way to improve our local sourcing. I’m a community-man and I know that it takes people to make a community thrive,” said Rodney 

Elizabeth Burns-Thompson works closely with many organizations that partner with Landus. YPiA is just one example of how Landus is making the most of its relationships. 

“YPiA is an organization that’s so easy for me to recommend to our young professionals here. Relationships make things happen and in the ag policy space, we need to stick together to create meaningful change,” she said. 

To learn more about YPiA, visit their website, here.

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