New Group Begins LSU AgCenter Leadership Program

Wiley M. Futrell, Soileau, Robert J.  |  1/6/2006 4:04:01 AM

News Release Distributed 01/05/06

Twenty-five men and women from across Louisiana began a two-year venture in the LSU AgCenter’s Agricultural Leadership Development Program when they attended their first classes this week (Jan. 3-5) in Baton Rouge.

"We believe investing in people is the way to ensure a vibrant future for agriculture and for the state," said LSU AgCenter Chancellor Bill Richardson. "Our alumni from this program have gone on to become state leaders."

Established in 1988, the Ag Leadership Program provides educational opportunities for potential leaders involved with agriculture and agribusiness, according to Dr. Mike Futrell, who serves as program director for the LSU AgCenter. Since its inception, more than 250 people have graduated from the program.

"This is our 10th group," Futrell said of the class that began in January, explaining, "The curriculum includes 10 seminars during two years of study – seven on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge and three away."

The off-campus seminars include visits to Washington, D.C., to meet with the country’s leaders in agricultural policy and to Chicago to see the Board of Trade in operation. The final seminar is an international study tour during which the group visits another country to learn how other agricultural, economic and social systems work.

"The international study tour is an extraordinary growth experience for the class. They visit with farmers, government officials, agribusiness professionals and the citizens of other countries," Futrell said. "They finish the trip with a much better understanding of how big the world is and how difficult it is to solve complex trade issues."

The program is funded through endowments from the Chalkey family of Lake Charles and Dr. H. Rouse Caffey, a former LSU AgCenter chancellor. Participation in the program is based on a competitive application and interview process, and those accepted into the program pay a nominal tuition fee.

Members of Class 10 in the program include farmers, ranchers, lawyers and business people. Their names and hometowns are:

David Bergeron, Evergreen
Joel Cape, New Orleans
Bill Cheek, Lecompte
Trent Clark, Bordelonville
Darrell Cobb, Scott
Joel Ducote, Plaquemine
Pete Dufresne, Paulina
Ben Guthrie, Newellton
Mark Hebert, Shreveport
Jennifer Hill, Livonia
Nan Huff, Waterproof
Clayton Hurdle, Rosedale
Ryan Kirby, Shreveport
Dan Klein, St. Francisville
Rosemary Lassiter, Stonewall
Scooter LaCoste, Morganza
Jeff Masson, New Orleans
Rex Morgan, Rayville
Cindy Perret, Edgard
Bill Sherman, Baton Rouge
Robert Tassin, Alexandria
Kevin Voisin, Houma
James White, Jonesville
Cathy Williams, Baton Rouge
Ben Wilson, Zachary


Contact: Mike Futrell at (225) 578-6395 or
Writer: Bobby Soileau at (225) 578-5670 or

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