UGA CAES to Launch an Agricultural Leadership Program
Sunday, December 4th, 2011
A new program for identifying and cultivating future leaders within the Georgia agriculture and natural resources industries is currently under development at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Scheduled to launch in the fall of 2012, the Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture (AGLA) program will fill the role of the Georgia Agri-Leaders Forum and feature new elements such as national and international travel to investigate and learn more about pertinent issues.
“As Georgia’s largest industry, it is critical that we develop new agricultural leadership,” said Dr. Scott Angle, dean and director of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Opportunities abound in Georgia, but agriculture is a complex business. Training and leadership are essential for success.”
“We were initially planning to launch in 2013, but Dean Angle wanted to maintain momentum built by the Agri-Leaders Forum. He made recruitment and development for the program a priority so we are now targeting a launch for next year,” said Dr. Rochelle Strickland who will direct the leadership program.
Prior to coming to the University of Georgia, Strickland was the Program Coordinator for the Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Florida, where she earned her master’s and doctorate degrees. Her research focuses on evaluating the outcomes and impacts of adult leadership development programs, specifically within the agricultural context to understand best practices for adult education and leadership development.
Enabling agricultural leaders to tell their story
The program under development at UGA CAES is based on successful models in use throughout the U.S. in states such as Florida, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma and Minnesota. Twenty-three of the U.S. programs are based within the state’s land-grant institution. Of those, at least 16 include a national and international study trip and consist of a two-year period for each class, which is the model UGA plans to use.
“The 16 programs have each been in existence for 15 to 20 years so we know it’s a successful model,” Strickland explained.
National and international study trips are intended to provide opportunities to analyze issues that are relevant to Georgia agriculture or may have a potential impact. A few examples of a national study trip, according to Strickland, would be a trip to the Southwest to discuss immigration or through the Corn Belt to learn about alternative energy. Internationally, participants will have the opportunity to learn about international trade, different cultures and customs, and how domestic and foreign policies impact Georgia.
“We’ll go where things are happening that have an impact in Georgia,” she explained.
Among the issues that may be addressed are export market development, water availability, food security, poverty and education. The goal is to provide high potential individuals with the knowledge and skills to lead the agriculture industry forward.
“Most people who work in agriculture are very passionate about what they do. We want to give them the tools and confidence to tell their stories to policymakers and consumers on the state, national and international levels,” Strickland said.
An immediate focus on recruitment and funding
Strickland will begin promoting the program and seeking referrals for the 2012 class in the spring. She will be attending the Ag Forecast, Young Farmers Convention, the Peanut Show and many other agricultural conferences in the state.
Tuition for the two-year program will be $3500, which is approximately one-third of the cost for each participant. The difference is expected to be funded financial and in-kind support from the agriculture and natural resources industries, as it is in other states. UGA will be providing faculty and staff support as well as office space, equipment and other day-to-day needs for the program.
“Individuals and businesses can support the program in many different ways. The obvious is through a financial contribution, but one can also host a dinner, provide meeting space, or be an expert speaker or resource person for the program,” she continued.
According to Strickland, the program will have an advisory council with members representing agribusiness, production, and the natural resources industry. The 12- to 15-member council will help set policies and guidelines, select participants, identify priority issues and decide on national and international study trip destinations.
For more information on Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture (AGLA), contact Dr. Rochelle Strickland at email@example.com or (706) 542-1204.