Franklin County’s ag industry catches statewide attention

Editorial: Last week, Franklin County had the opportunity to be center stage for a group of delegates focused on growing as leaders.

Leadership Iowa, an annual class that tours eight counties a year with different focuses for each county, toured the agricultural and agribusiness industries, as well as local farms, of Franklin County as part of its agriculture section.

The group of 40 individuals from various industries throughout the state was able to see and hear from the some of the top producers in our area. The spirit of Leadership Iowa is for the class members to take ideas they learn from the people and places they visit to use in their own businesses and communities. These individuals were not just farmers and producers, but also health professionals, educators, business owners and more.

The class also brought in guest speakers, including Aaron Putze, Iowa Food Family Project and the Iowa Soybean Association, and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. Those speakers were also able to see the best our county has to offer.

Kay Neumann-Thomas, Vice President of Programs for the Iowa Association of Business and Industry Foundation, which sponsors Leadership Iowa, said Franklin County was a no-brainer pick for the agriculture lesson. She said Franklin County is an example of how agriculture and agribusiness is a backbone of local communities and the State of Iowa as a whole.

While not everyone involved with leadership Iowa plays a role in agriculture, the businesses and individuals they visited in Franklin County provided valuable lessons and insight how businesses can thrive for decades and how tireless work and innovation leads to longevity.

With just 10,000 people in the county, these communities can be easy to overlook. But thanks to programs such as Leadership Iowa, the innovations and examples set by Franklin County leaders have a chance to catch the eyes of prominent figures across the state.

Of course, this kind of attention is not the goal, but simply the product, of generations of hard work. But because of this attention, Franklin County is seen as more than just a small spot on the map – it’s seen as one of the leaders of Iowa’s most prominent industry.