Leadership in Agriculture: Case Studies for a New Generation

Leadership in Agriculture: Case Studies for a New Generation

by John Patrick Jordan, Neville P. Clarke, Gale A. Buchanan, Kelly C. Jordan
     
 

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In a world facing chronic and increasing shortages in food crops and natural resources, visionary leadership in agriculture becomes more and more critical for building and maintaining a sustainable future. It is of paramount importance that the dynamic and challenging evolution in agriculture over the last century and a half be met today with imaginative leadership in… See more details below

Overview

In a world facing chronic and increasing shortages in food crops and natural resources, visionary leadership in agriculture becomes more and more critical for building and maintaining a sustainable future. It is of paramount importance that the dynamic and challenging evolution in agriculture over the last century and a half be met today with imaginative leadership in virtually all aspects of activities and organizations involved.

Leadership in Agriculture: Case Studies for a New Generation focuses on key characteristics and elements of leadership. Using case studies from research, industry, education, administration, and extension services, the authors present real-world circumstances ranging from natural disasters to major restructuring that demanded problem solving, new initiatives, consensus, and organizational commitment. Drawing on their own experiences and covering topics as diverse as closing facilities, mounting a national research initiative, reinventing a major corporation, and dealing with invasive termites, the studies contain examples of both good and bad outcomes and tie back to the stated leadership principles and qualities.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Preface vii

Acknowledgments xiii

Leadership in the Agricultural Environment 1

Character: The Bedrock of Leaders and Leadership 13

Case Studies—How Leadership Can Make a Difference 37

1. Facing Down Nature: How a Regional Lab Survived Hurricane Katrina (Addressing Physical Crises) 38

2. Exerting Ag Leadership in Distributed Geographic Locations (Coordinating Dispersed Units within One Organization) 49

3. Closing and Relocating Facilities and Terminating Programs (Leadership Challenges with Organizational Restructuring) 59

4. National Research Initiative: Creating a Shared Leadership Vision (Bringing about a New Solution) 73

5. Battling Formosan Subterranean Termites (Forging a New Approach) 81

6. Gathering of the Agricultural Clan (Bringing Leaders Together without Central Authority) 90

7. Monsanto: How One Company Saw the Future and Transformed to Seize It (Leadership’s Role in a Significant Change) 96

8. Enhancing Leadership in the State Agricultural Experiment Stations (Cultivating New Leadership) 123

9. Development of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) (Enhancing a Better Understanding of Agricultural Science and Technology) 133

Lessons Learned from Case Studies 145

Making Leadership Work for You 152

Appendixes: How Does the Scientific Agricultural System Work? 161

Appendix A. The Land-Grant System: A Key to America’s Dream? How Does It Function? 161

Appendix B. The USDA’s Agricultural Research Service: Focus on National and International Issues 165

Appendix C. The Industrial Approach to Research: Diverse Foci Linked to Industrial Economic Effects 167

Notes 171

Bibliography 173

About the Authors 177

Index 179

For more information, please visit leadershipinagriculture.com.

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Editorial Reviews

Keith Barber

"In my studies on leadership, those authors with the most to offer are the ones who have the experiences and share their testimonies. I find veterans, like you, to be more relevant, reliable, and valid when contemplating everyday situations and long-term vision. I appreciate how you use case studies to draw on your extensive experiences as this provides application for the reader that is most helpful. As leaders, your credentials are impeccable and I am pleased you use them to your collective advantage throughout the book."—Keith Barber, Vice Chancellor, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture
Dr. Keith Barber

"In my studies on leadership, those authors with the most to offer are the ones who have the experiences and share their testimonies. I find veterans, like you, to be more relevant, reliable, and valid when contemplating everyday situations and long-term vision. I appreciate how you use case studies to draw on your extensive experiences as this provides application for the reader that is most helpful. As leaders, your credentials are impeccable and I am pleased you use them to your collective advantage throughout the book."--Dr. Keith Barber, Vice Chancellor University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture
Stanley P. Wilson

"The information is excellent. If a way can be found to have the book serve as a wake-up call to educators that leadership can be developed and it should be part of college and university programs, it may be more than useful; it could be revolutionary."--Stanley P. Wilson, former Vice-President for Agriculture, Home Economics and Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University

Dr. John P. Cherry

“As a federal professional in the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) for over 34 years, I appreciate the need for resources that assist in the development of managers with leadership qualities to take agriculture and all its components to the next level. With growing populations, climate changes, competing challenges of disease and hunger, etc., we need leaders with the qualities classified in this book.”--John P. Cherry, research collaborator, ARS Eastern Regional Research Center
Clarence F. Davan

“As a professional market researcher in academic, government, and industry sectors, I consider Leadership in Agriculture: Case Studies for a New Generation to be one of the top textbooks on leadership in research. Its contents will be understood and adopted by many disciplines. It fully represents the attributes of creativity, leadership, and communication.”--Clarence F. Davan Jr., President and CEO, Davan Consulting International Inc. and founder, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association
John P. Cherry

“As a federal professional in the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) for over 34 years, I appreciate the need for resources that assist in the development of managers with leadership qualities to take agriculture and all its components to the next level. With growing populations, climate changes, competing challenges of disease and hunger, etc., we need leaders with the qualities classified in this book.”--John P. Cherry, research collaborator, ARS Eastern Regional Research Center

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781603449618
Publisher:
Texas A&M University Press
Publication date:
02/17/2013
Series:
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Service Series
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
208
File size:
3 MB

Read an Excerpt

Leadership in Agriculture

Case Studies for a New Generation


By John Patrick Jordan, Gale A. Buchanan, Neville P. Clarke, Kelly C. Jordan

Texas A&M University Press

Copyright © 2013 John Patrick Jordan, Gale A. Buchanan, Neville P. Clarke, and Kelly C. Jordan
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60344-961-8



CHAPTER 1

Case Studies

HOW LEADERSHIP CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE


Frequently case studies provide examples of how others have addressed problems that may be similar to one that a reader is facing. Thus, case studies are used here to show leadership approaches in dealing with agricultural issues, especially those in research and outreach.

The format for the case studies is flexible, but each addresses the following points in some way.

1. What will this case study show? Each identifies the key leadership elements reflected in the case study.

2. Case study: It tells the "story," including situations that demonstrate leadership strengths and weaknesses. It contains enough detail to clearly explain the situation and show the leader's successes and failures.

3. Key leadership questions that are relevant: Because the readers are not in a discussion group, it is important that they recognize some of the leadership questions that are addressed in the case study.

4. Results: What happened in terms of results? Each case study presents at least the highlights so that the readers can see how the story ended and the problem areas that were identified and needed to be resolved.

5. Comments: The case study author's additional comments may broaden the readers' understanding of how the case study may be used when appropriate.


1. Facing Down Nature: How a Regional Lab Survived Hurricane Katrina

What Will This Case Study Show?

Key points include the following: (1) finding people after the storm; (2) housing them at temporary locations; (3) providing resources for personnel, supplies, and equipment; (4) communicating with personnel who were located across the country; (5) implementing a different form to handle those manifesting disciplinary problems; (6) returning home; (7) repair of the center; (8) continuing productivity after the storm; (9) assessing damage; and (10) coordinating the return of personnel to the center.


Case Study

The USDA's Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC), headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana, is operated by the agency's Agricultural Research Service (ARS). Strongly committed to multidisciplinary commodity-use research, it houses chemists, entomologists, food technologists, plant pathologists, and several other scientific specialties under one roof.

The center continues to develop innovative uses for cotton and various agricultural products. Scientists based there are working to find solutions to dangerous crop-contaminating molds—mycotox-ins—as well as invasive termites that cause $1 billion worth of damage each year in the United States. The SRRC researchers are also trying to make life easier for millions of people around the world who suffer from peanut allergies by searching for less allergenic peanut varieties.


LEAVING DESTRUCTION IN ITS WAKE

On August 29, 2005, the SRRC joined much of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast in coping with Katrina, a powerful category 4 hurricane. The storm wreaked havoc on the facility, plowing through dozens of windows and shearing off parts of the roof of the chemical wing. Mature evergreens and magnolias on the forty-acre grounds surrounding the center were flattened, opening pathways for encroaching floodwaters.

The water came from Lake Pontchartrain, which inflicted the most costly damage, moving water up the drainage canals in the wrong direction and into the city. Major canals on both sides of the center (each about a mile away from the SRRC) broke in several places, flooding New Orleans and leaving 80 percent of its land under water, especially the lakefront area, where the SRRC is situated. The rising waters poured in so quickly—and persisted so long—that five employees at the New Orleans–based facility who had volunteered to stay throughout the storm had to be rescued by boat.

The SRRC's ground-floor level remained under water for three weeks, setting the stage for widespread, aggressive mold growth (see figure 2). Laboratories and equipment in those areas were ruined. Experiments were destroyed. With no electricity, biological materials such as bacteria and fungi–which require constant refrigeration—were also lost, along with termite collections and other live samples. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, the first task was to determine the condition of more than 350 scientists and staff who had been scattered across the southeastern region of the United States and beyond by the mandatory evacuation order received from the mayor's office prior to the Katrina landfall. A temporary headquarters for the SRRC was activated by August 31 at the headquarters for the Mid-South ARS area in Stoneville, Mississippi, three hundred miles north of New Orleans.


MOST WORRISOME PERIOD

Following the storm, the most problematic task for SRRC administrators was accounting for all employees. A coordinated effort by the center and ARS's Mid-South Area Office helped locate all missing personnel in a timely manner. Although attempts were made to reach scientists and staff through their emergency numbers, it was discovered that some people had used phone numbers of contacts in the Greater New Orleans Area and along the Gulf Coast and thus were of little help after the storm.

Some people went to relatives' homes in Georgia, Virginia, Texas, South Carolina, Arkansas, and even locations much farther away. Although most were found within a week, it took several weeks for a few stragglers to be located. It took more than a month to find one employee who claimed he did not know he was supposed to call in. Not only was the status of scientists and staff important, but efforts were also made to locate each family member who lived with them. Fortunately, no one was lost in the storm, flood, or movement to temporary evacuation sites.

The second task was to provide cost reimbursements and living expenses to the employees. The USDA and the ARS approved per diems for employees and any dependent recorded on the 2004 Federal Income Tax Form 1040. This major move by the ARS headquarters in Washington, DC, allowed immediate help for center personnel and their families.

Both FEMA and the American Red Cross also provided immediate funds to help cover some costs even before the per-diem checks arrived at the employees' banks. Also quite helpful was the fact that the National Finance Center, which itself is housed in New Orleans, had alternate work sites already set up before the hurricane at three other locations around the country, enabling it to continue to pay employees without interruption.

The third task was to find laboratories around the nation where scientists and staff could be housed and that would have adequate support facilities to allow research to continue. Dozens of scientists and their support staffs had to relocate—many with lab equipment in tow—to several worksites in twelve states. Efforts were made to match scientists with university collaborators or with colleagues at an ARS laboratory and at universities doing compatible research. Even industrial collaborators and other USDA facilities offered space and support. So by October/November, two to three months after the flood, the SRRC was back in business.

This situation created several challenges. So as not to lose time, the center director pushed for the preparation of manuscripts based on data already gathered but not yet published in scientific papers. Between September 1, 2005, and August 31, 2006, 450 SRRC staff members had their names on professional papers. Research publications typically amounted to three-quarters of a normal year's output.

In addition, most of the samples needed for laboratory research were found either on the higher floors at the SRRC or as duplicates in other institutions. Some samples could not be reclaimed, particularly those that were held in freezers or refrigerators at the SRRC since electric power was not available for several weeks until a large generator was brought to the center. It was March 2006 before normal electric current again became available.


FIGHTING CONTAMINATION

To obtain many of the scientific materials and laboratory books and to recover relatively undamaged laboratory and facility equipment, the next task was to remove from the damaged SRRC all contaminated materials that were not in closed containers. For example, the chemical storeroom, located on the ground floor, had shelves that floated in the six feet of water and spilled bottles of toxic chemicals. Unless these were removed, commercial cleanup companies could not begin removing the deep muck on the groundlevel floors.

As soon as they were allowed in by FEMA and the National Guard in early October, the directors from the Mid-South Area and the SRRC toured the facility to access the damage. To do so required medical clearances, proper shots, and protective clothing for anyone authorized to enter the building. Control of access was stringent. It soon became clear what needed to be done in terms of safety before any volunteering scientists could enter the building in order to clean up major contamination, and this was done under close administrative supervision.

Subsequently, when the scientific staff needed certain equipment at their interim locations, similar procedures were used to obtain the movable items from the upper floors, which had not been damaged. Each item was carefully and thoroughly decontaminated by SRRC personnel before the equipment was wrapped and shipped to the location where it was needed.

Key personnel from the ARS headquarters toured the facilities to assess the damage. By November 2005, it was clear that the loss was substantial and that an estimated $50 million would be required to get things back into functional operation. The issue of abandoning the site or building a new one was quickly aborted, for it would send the wrong message about the USDA's commitment to the area. The question was where and how to obtain the funds. Through ARS and USDA support, Congress moved to provide $35 million. The ARS had already committed $13 million. In fact, its whole repair and maintenance budget for FY 2006 (effective October 1, 2005) was designated for the rapid recovery. The SRRC provided $2 million from its own budget, which brought the total to $50 million.

The resources were obtained, but it took coordinated effort at all levels of the USDA and the US Office of Management and Budget, as well as congressional support, to put everything together. Within the ARS and the Mid-South Area headquarters, nothing was higher on the appropriations request than the SRRC recovery. It was important scientifically because of the major research efforts that were in operation, including cotton, rice, food safety, and sugar cane research, along with the very visible Formosan subterranean termite project. Recovery was also critical as it underlined the words of President Bush's often repeated statement that the federal government was in New Orleans to stay.


MASSIVE COMMUNICATIONS EFFORT

How were communications maintained with the scientific staff members, who were located ultimately at twenty-two different locations?

a. Almost daily telecommunications among the director and the research leaders were initiated, and as the crisis lessened, these took place on a weekly basis.

b. Daily e-mails with updates on the situation were sent to all personnel.

c. All of the research leaders visited every laboratory and every person under their supervision.

d. The director made personal visits to most locations.


What was needed was not only a constant flow of information about the SRRC situation but also updated estimates on how long would it be before the scientists, the staff, and their families could return to the New Orleans area. Further, each person was allowed to return, at government expense, to the New Orleans area to assess personal losses in home, facilities, and furnishings and to obtain critical papers needed to address insurance issues.

The SRRC personnel were encouraged by a visit from the director, for they felt that information shared at such visits was very valuable. Any personnel problem could be brought up, although almost all of these were taken care of by the research leader and the director's administrative office. One scientist became a major disciplinary problem, which ultimately required a joint effort by leaders from the SRRC, the Mid-South Area, the ARS, and finally the USDA's Office of General Council to dismiss the scientist after a return to New Orleans.

As the crisis eased and New Orleans started its recovery, one of the major challenges was to plan and execute the return of scientific and administrative personnel to the SRRC. Recognizing that the homes of fifty-six staff members had either been destroyed or needed major repairs, FEMA, with urging from the SRRC, the USDA, the ARS in Washington, DC, and the Mid-South Area Office, decided to locate a trailer park on the SRRC campus to provide housing for these staff members and their families. During the winter of 2005–2006, FEMA agreed to put fifty trailers with electric power, water, and sewerage service on the campus (see figure 3). Named after the director, this impressive site was called "Jordanville."

With the rapid cleanup of the laboratories under way and the trailer park available as temporary housing, the scientific staff began returning in April 2006. Some members of the administrative staff whose homes were not significantly damaged by the flood had already moved back in the fall of 2005. Thus they could work on a daily basis to ensure that the cleanup work was carried out efficiently and as rapidly as possible.


MORALE BOOSTER

By July 2006, all personnel had been ordered back to New Orleans and SRRC. To accomplish all of this required considerable planning by the research leaders and the center's administrative officer. Travel orders, return of equipment that had been moved to scientists' temporary sites, and the ending of per diem had to be carried out. Because of major problems with mold, not all SRRC laboratories were ready by this time. With no central electric power for months, mold had grown up the walls from one floor to another and could be found even on the top floor. In some instances, significant portions of the walls had to be removed and replaced. The issue of mold-contamination effects on the human population and on scientific equipment was significant, and considerable time and effort were expended to remove this serious contaminant.

The massive return of staff was a morale booster for all the employees. They had been through a very difficult situation and survived it together. Their primary concern now was to finish the repairs and get back into full swing as quickly as possible. They also enjoyed seeing each other since many had been away from their SRRC colleagues for some time. They were also able to address the issues of repairing or selling their homes, and many of them picked up new homes that had not been damaged by the flood. The atmosphere at SRRC was exuberant!


Results

HIGHLIGHTS

The SRRC had technical staff planning and looking after the recovery by October 2005, within a month of the disaster. These recovery directors came from Washington, DC, and the Mid-South Area Office at Stoneville, Mississippi, and included SRRC staff and leadership as well.

The SRRC had most of its people back in New Orleans and on the SRRC campus beginning in April 2006; by July everyone had returned.

In addition, as mentioned earlier, 450 SRRC scientists were identified as authors on publications from September 1, 2005, through August 31, 2006. Production did not stop.

Most federal agencies in New Orleans averaged a net loss of 25 percent of their employees, individuals who left the organization or were permanently transferred because of the flood. The SRRC's gross loss was about 6 percent, but its net loss was 3.4 percent since some new personnel joined the SRRC after the hurricane and flood.

Good leadership was shown at most levels. It did not "come overnight" but had developed progressively during the years before Katrina. Personal attention to scientists and staff, including contract staff, paid off well. The keys to this were frequent communication to staff by leadership and the personal visits by research leaders and the director, all of which kept morale strong. This, it is believed, convinced almost everyone to stay with the center's program.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Leadership in Agriculture by John Patrick Jordan, Gale A. Buchanan, Neville P. Clarke, Kelly C. Jordan. Copyright © 2013 John Patrick Jordan, Gale A. Buchanan, Neville P. Clarke, and Kelly C. Jordan. Excerpted by permission of Texas A&M University Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What People are saying about this

John P. Cherry

“As a federal professional in the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) for over 34 years, I appreciate the need for resources that assist in the development of managers with leadership qualities to take agriculture and all its components to the next level. With growing populations, climate changes, competing challenges of disease and hunger, etc., we need leaders with the qualities classified in this book.”--John P. Cherry, research collaborator, ARS Eastern Regional Research Center
Stanley P. Wilson

"The information is excellent. If a way can be found to have the book serve as a wake-up call to educators that leadership can be developed and it should be part of college and university programs, it may be more than useful; it could be revolutionary."--Stanley P. Wilson, former Vice-President for Agriculture, Home Economics and Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University

Clarence F. Davan

“As a professional market researcher in academic, government, and industry sectors, I consider Leadership in Agriculture: Case Studies for a New Generation to be one of the top textbooks on leadership in research. Its contents will be understood and adopted by many disciplines. It fully represents the attributes of creativity, leadership, and communication.”--Clarence F. Davan Jr., President and CEO, Davan Consulting International Inc. and founder, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association
Dr. Keith Barber

"In my studies on leadership, those authors with the most to offer are the ones who have the experiences and share their testimonies. I find veterans, like you, to be more relevant, reliable, and valid when contemplating everyday situations and long-term vision. I appreciate how you use case studies to draw on your extensive experiences as this provides application for the reader that is most helpful. As leaders, your credentials are impeccable and I am pleased you use them to your collective advantage throughout the book."--Dr. Keith Barber, Vice Chancellor University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

Read More

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