NCGA Grower Services Action Team Chairman Mark Garber said he was pleased with the outcome of the meeting. "It was absolutely fantastic," he said. "We had a great turnout of both producers and state staff members and everyone had favorable comments. I think everyone left the meeting having learned a lot."

"It was a very successful meeting," agreed NCGA Membership Services Manager Byron Keelin. "According to the feedback forms, 89 percent of those in attendance rated the event as 'very good' to 'excellent.' It's a great way to start our 2003 campaign."

Garber, a grower from Pierre, S.D., said NCGA and the state corn grower associations should always remember the importance of its members. "Without our membership, we're nothing. We've got to keep our membership up and the program we have provided by Syngenta has been a big plus for us."

He thanked Syngenta for their continuing role in NCGA's successful recruiting. "Having Syngenta Seeds and Syngenta Crop Protection on board for this program has been a tremendous benefit," said Garber. "They come to us top-rated and they give us the flexibility to help meet our membership needs. We've set record numbers in membership in recent months and a lot of it is due to the incentives provided by Syngenta, and not only with membership, but the leadership training they provide during the year in North Carolina and Washington, D.C."

The conference featured several presentations, including a joint presentation by Don Mason of Iowa and Yvonne Simon of Minnesota on the formation of a county and district recruiting program. Also featured during the meeting was a presentation led by Montana Grain Growers Association Executive Vice President Richard Owen, certified association executive (CAE).

"Mr. Owen presented us with a case study on their association and how it was losing members and money," said Keelin. "He discussed some of the things they did in Montana to boost both their budget and their membership and how they did all this by focusing on the needs of their members."

Randy Jones of Syngenta Seeds discussed targeted marketing of prospective members. "Randy went over very well with the audience," said Keelin. "Seventy-five percent of those in attendance rated his presentation as 'excellent.'"

Two non-traditional states were also represented during this year's meeting, with the attendance of Annie Dee from Alabama and Tim Castleman from California. "It's great to see people from non-member states and from states we don't hear from very often," said Keelin. "It shows the importance of the training we're providing."

Garber concluded by saying positive feedback has already been coming in from the states concerning the meeting. "We've already had feedback from states like Kentucky who are developing their recruitment program based on what they learned during this training.

"It's a very positive first step."

"The Mission of the NCGA staff is to execute programs under the direction of the NCGA Corn Board and to provide professional quality service to our state checkoff and association members"