LSU AgCenter leadership program welcomes new cohort

(01/15/20) Baton Rouge, La. — A new LSU AgCenter Agricultural Leadership Development Program class started the week of Jan. 6 in Baton Rouge. This is the 17th class of the program, which was established in 1988.

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

The Ag Leadership Program provides educational opportunities for potential leaders involved with production agriculture and agribusiness in Louisiana, said Bobby Soileau, who serves as the program director for the LSU AgCenter.

“This program is successful because of the quality participants from all aspects of Louisiana agriculture,” Soileau said. “We strive to help class members become better informed spokespeople in all aspects of agriculture, forestry, natural resources and agribusiness.”

The January 2020 session was the beginning of a series of classroom and travel seminars that require approximately 45 training days throughout a two-year period. The participants will travel to Washington, D.C., in June and will end their experience with an international trip in January 2022.

“The international study tour is a great opportunity for class members to learn about another culture. They visit with farmers, government officials, agribusiness professionals and the citizens of another country,” Soileau said. “In the past we have taken our classes to Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe and South America.”

The program is funded through private donations and endowments from the Chalkley family of Lake Charles, H. Rouse Caffey, Ag Leaders of Louisiana and the Dr. Robert R. Soileau Scholarship. Participation in the program is based on a competitive application and interview process, and those accepted into the program pay a nominal fee.

Members of the program’s Class 17 include individuals in farming, ranching, forestry, wildlife and agribusiness. Their names and hometowns are:

  • Dallas Ardoin, Melville
  • Ryan Bagley, Logansport
  • Kody Beavers, Extension
  • Esther Boe, Mansura
  • Andy Brown, Denham Springs
  • Thomas Dabbs, Sterlington
  • Robert Duncan, Boyce
  • Matt Gravois, Paulina
  • Ben Guarisco, Baton Rouge
  • John David Guthrie, Newellton/Little Rock
  • Marshall Hardwick, Newellton
  • Dustin Harrell, Crowley
  • Galen Iverstine, Baton Rouge
  • Will Killen, Monroe
  • Rachel Lee, St. Joseph
  • Kyle Marino, Addis
  • Riley Melton, West Monroe
  • James Newton, Bunkie
  • Cole Norris, Tallulah
  • Jacob Nugier, Lafayette
  • Randy Richard, Raceland
  • Darlene Rowland, Baton Rouge
  • Romeo Stalling, Rayville
  • Caleb Vines, West Monroe
  • Patrick York, Denham Springs
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Members of Class 17 of the LSU AgCenter Agricultural Leadership Development Program. The program provides educational opportunities for potential leaders involved with production agriculture and agribusiness in Louisiana. Photo by Olivia McClure/LSU AgCenter

1/15/2020 2:42:00 PM
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