AALP Class 19 and Lead New York: Connecting and Exploring in Ottawa

Date: December 13, 2022

Author: Hayley Mackay and Owen Smelski, AALP Class 19 Participants

“Despite being a country apart, under different forms of government, the issues are similar in foundation and the collaboration amongst the two groups extends beyond the few days spent together” Lead NY participant Trevor Bathel stated in a post-seminar interview. 

Lead New York, like the Advanced Agriculture Leadership Program, is for committed leaders in the agriculture and food sector who wish to step up and make a difference in their community. 35 members of Lead NY traveled to Ottawa Ontario, to join AALP Class 19 in exploring the differences in government, policies, programs along with discussing new and emerging realities of globalization. 

Trevor Bathel has been with CoBank for the last 8 years and is a Senior Relationship Manager. Bathel was born in Nebraska and later moved to upstate New York but currently calls Massachusetts home.  “I applied to the program due to its prestigious reputation and opportunities it provided for networking in and around agriculture”.

AALP and Lead NY were given the assignment of becoming pen pals with a member from the opposite group. Bathel was paired with Raphael Adegboye from Class 19, who is an agribusiness finance and risk professional for Scotia Bank. “The LEAD group is composed of producers, non-profits and ag support services encompassing dairy, grain, forestry, fruits & vegetables. With the current Lead Class having 35 members, we have a large range of industry that matches up to the members of the current AALP Class” Bathel explained when asked about the sectors amongst his classmates. Leslie Hamilton Stein (Lead NY) and Hayley Mackay (AALP) figured out both hold a commercial drivers license and have been driving by each other on Route 63 in Geneseo county, New York for the last 7 years.

The definition of “networking” reads from The Oxford Dictionary:  The action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. The two groups unquestionably accomplished this task and have continued networking with each other.

“It’s a small world after all! Jeff Harrison and I met just a few weeks ago at the joint Lead New York Program and Advanced Agriculture Leadership Program – AALP session in Ottawa, Canada and here we are again at the United Soybean Board/ American Soybean Association meeting in St. Louis. The ag circle is small friends!” Colleen Klein, Executive Director with New York Corn & Soybean Growers Association, Lead NY participant posted on social media.

With the end of four incredible days as a joint US/Canada group, both AALP and LEADS NY was fortunate to tour Carleton Mushrooms.  The insightful tour taught the group about the protocols for safety and the production response necessary to meet demand as it varies through the seasons. “By experiencing the extensive amount of work involved in preparing the compost from planting to harvest and shipping, it puts a new perspective on what it takes to bring this commodity to our tables, “ according to Matt Aarts, AALP Class 19.  The group of 58 participants was able to tour the Ottawa region and discuss North American Ag opportunities and differences over the four days together that also included a tour of the Canadian Senate and attending federal parliament question period. 

For more information about AALP and becoming a participant in Class 20 beginning September 2023, please contact the Rural Ontario Institute.