Directors of Farm Credit system boards face complex challenges—from mergers and technology decisions to competition and economic, market, and political volatility. Developed specifically for board members of Farm Credit cooperatives, our Premier Governance Series (PGS) merges timely, content-rich courses and dynamic peer interaction. 

The Premier Governance Series elevates board performance and individual director competence by connecting directors from a strong group of Farm Credit institutions throughout the country with subject matter experts and peers to share their expertise, knowledge, and perspectives.

The integrated curriculum focuses on the complexities of governance for Farm Credit directors today and their need to develop appropriate leadership and business acumen relevant to the business of their cooperative. Boards that participate in PGS gain a proven path to more effective board performance and their directors develop greater confidence through acquiring the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to serve effectively – as well as building connections within the system.

PGS topics are selected for their relevance and faculty are selected for their deep expertise and their ability to relate to the audience of directors and their concerns. In every PGS module directors work with expert faculty and peer directors from other cooperative boards in a rich, interactive learning environment to gain practical knowledge and skills that are immediately applicable in the boardroom.

Directors who elect to complete the certification curriculum receive the Premier Governance Series Director Certification – a distinction among Farm Credit directors that demonstrates their commitment to governance effectiveness and the long-term success of their organization.

Addressing Areas Essential to Excellence in Cooperative Governance

Each curriculum module gives directors a solid foundation for board governance and decision-making in important areas, including:

  • Excellence in Board Leadership

    This module focuses on developing director knowledge and skills around the board’s role in leadership. Directors explore the board’s role and relationship with the CEO and management and develop insight and skills relating to board dynamics and effectiveness, including the impact of personal leadership styles, social and emotional intelligence, and meeting interaction.

  • Financial Markets Overview

    In this module directors are guided by experts from outside and inside the Farm Credit system to understand global and domestic capital markets and the forces that impact them. They learn about Farm Credit funding and market implications, and key elements of risk, charter limits, and enterprise risk management, so they are better equipped to understand the overall risks and opportunities they face as part of Farm Credit.

  • The Board’s Role in Strategy

    This module delves into the art and science of strategy and the complementary roles board and management play in organizational strategy. Directors learn key concepts for setting long term direction of the organization and overseeing execution of strategic plans and risk mitigation effectively.

  • Financial Direction of the Enterprise and Managing Risk

    This module addresses the board’s role in financial strategy and risk within the context of the organization’s growth strategy and the external environment. The module is geared to help directors understand how to approach financial decisions effectively in the context of risk and opportunity.

  • Human Capital Resource & Risk: The Board’s Role

    This module focuses on the board’s role in key areas of human capital such as CEO succession planning and selection, CEO performance management, and executive compensation. It also covers the board’s role in policy-setting and oversight of organizational talent and culture, in terms of both opportunity and risk.

  • Technology Disruption & Cyber Risk: The Board’s Role

    This module gives directors the knowledge and skills they need to provide more effective oversight and long-term direction in the areas of technology disruption and cyber risk. With the rapidly evolving and turbulent dynamics in tech and cyber, directors gain important information and skills to understand trends and to provide appropriate oversight and input for both long-term direction and risk.

  • The Gettysburg Leadership Experience for Directors and Executives

    This experiential module in Gettysburg uses the Battle of Gettysburg to explore important elements of leadership for board members and executive managers. Directors and executives learn important leadership lessons from expert faculty in the classroom (including Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of Dwight D. Eisenhower) and senior battlefield guides in the field – lessons they can apply immediately in the boardroom, the executive suite, and their lives. Click here for more information.

  • Leadership Lessons from Gettysburg: Pursuit, Retreat and Resilience for Directors and Executives

    This experiential module in Gettysburg focuses specifically on Lee’s retreat and Meade’s pursuit, critical phases of the Battle of Gettysburg, to examine leadership lessons needed during times of intense challenge and adversity. Directors and executives learn through a combination of classroom sessions with faculty experts and field excursions with senior battlefield guides and take away valuable lessons they can apply in the boardroom and executive suites.

  • The Lewis & Clark Experience: Leadership into the Unknown for Directors and Executives

    In this experiential program in Great Falls, Montana directors and executive managers learn important skills for leading their organizations into the unknown and rapidly changing future. Imagining a Different Future… Portaging into the Unknown… Creating a Lasting Legacy: these pivotal themes come alive in this course that explores Lewis and Clark’s incredible 1803 expedition into the uncharted West, along with a view into the unknown future from our faculty, a professional futurist. Click here for more information.

To get started in Premier Governance Series (PGS), and for more information, contact Leslie Hilton, VP Board Governance at

Stay Connected