Robert Soileau, Merrill, Thomas A. | 4/21/2009 8:36:39 PM
News Release Distributed 04/21/09
What does it take to become a more effective leader for agriculture? Many of the answers to that question are part of the LSU AgCenter’s Agricultural Leadership Development Program.
Applications for potential participants in the program are available for its 12th class, which will begin the two-year program of study in January 2010.
“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 potential leaders involved with agriculture and agribusiness the tools needed to become more effective voices for agriculture, according to Dr. Bobby Soileau, who serves as program director for the LSU AgCenter. Since its inception, more than 300 people have graduated from the program.
“It is a great opportunity to learn about the critical issues facing agriculture,” Soileau said. “In addition, the leadership skills participants acquire give them the confidence they need to become more effective communicators for agriculture.”
The curriculum includes 10 seminars during the two years – seven on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge and three involving trips elsewhere. The off-campus seminars include visits to Washington, D.C., to meet with the country’s leaders in agricultural policy and to California to see agricultural operations deal with environmental regulatory issues. The final seminar is an international study tour where the group learns about the agricultural, economic and social systems of another country.
“The international study tour is an eye-opening experience. They visit with farmers, government officials, agribusiness professionals and the citizens of other countries,” Soileau explained. “The class will understand they have to be prepared to compete globally.”
Participants pay a small portion of the costs for their study and travel. The bulk of the program funding is underwritten by endowments in the LSU Foundation, including the Chalkley Family Endowment, the H. Rouse Caffey Endowment and the Ag Leaders of Louisiana Endowment. In addition, the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation contributes annually to the program.
Those interested in participating can contact their parish’s LSU AgCenter Extension office or go to the Ag Leadership Web site at www.lsuagcenter.com/agleadership to obtain a copy of the application or get more information. Applications for the program’s 12th class, which runs from January 2010 through January 2012, must be completed and submitted no later than Aug. 31.