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Midwest Dairy leadership grants help farmers grow their leadership skills

April 23, 2024


3 minute read

Midwest Dairy offers a range of leadership grants to improve dairy farmers’ leadership and advocacy skills. These grants can be used in various ways, including industry—or state-specific leadership programs, leadership conferences, and virtual or in-person classes. Below are examples of farmers using these grants to enhance their leadership skills.  

Beth Marcoot of Marcoot Jersey Creamery received a leadership grant to help cover the cost of a digital integration class at Greenville University. The course offered hands-on experience in using digital media, the internet, and social networking. According to Beth, her biggest takeaway was learning to create content that connects people to the story and understanding that not all content goes viral. Through this class, Beth learned new skills in content creation, used different platforms to share her story, and learned from the other students in the class. Also, an unexpected benefit was that her college-aged classmates learned more about dairy! Beth believes digital media learning opportunities like this would benefit other farmers who want to share their stories online.

Another grant recipient, Elle Tibor of Tibor Farms, received a grant to participate in the Young Dairy Leaders Institute (YDLI) hosted by the Holstein Foundation. YDLI brings together young adults in the dairy industry to provide interactive training sessions that grow their skills in interpersonal communications, advocacy, and community and industry involvement. Some of Elle’s biggest learnings include strategies for effective public speaking and leadership skills. She enjoyed the interactive sessions and networking opportunities at this meeting. Elle highly recommends this program as it provides great professional development to help farmers be impactful, better leaders.

Lastly, Kevin Korbel of Korbel Dairy Farm received a leadership grant to attend the Center for Food Integrity’s Transparency Summit in 2023 and a grant in 2024 to participate in YDLI as well. The Transparency Summit brought together leaders from all facets of the food industry to explore challenges and opportunities and learn from one another. Kevin said the summit was an eye-opening experience as he was able to gain new knowledge from experts. Attending the summit allowed him to make many new connections and grow his leadership skills. Additionally, Kevin values the networking and learning opportunities at the first YDLI meeting. “It was great not only to meet so many like-minded individuals in the industry but also to have the chance to talk about real-world problems in dairy and possible solutions to everyday issues,” Kevin remarked. Through YDLI, Kevin learned more about his personality style and how he can use this knowledge to successfully work with others to accomplish his goals. Kevin noted that both experiences allowed him to learn more about himself rapidly, and he’s excited to apply them to his daily work.

Dairy farmers contributing to Midwest Dairy checkoff are encouraged to apply for dairy farmer leadership grants, which provide up to $1,000 in funding per calendar year. These grant dollars can be used towards becoming a leader in the dairy industry and developing skills that allow you to share your story with consumers better. Grants are approved on a rolling basis and are subject to fund availability. To learn more and to apply, visit

Apply for a Leadership Grant Today!

Interested in becoming a leader in the dairy industry or developing and advancing your skills to help you better share your dairy story with consumers? Apply for a Dairy Farmer Leadership Grant today!
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