"The international study tour is an eye-opening experience. They visit with farmers, government officials, agribusiness professionals and the citizens of other countries," Soileau said. "The class will understand they have to be prepared to compete globally."
The LSU AgCenter Agricultural Leadership Development Program has been growing leaders in Louisiana's agricultural industry for more than 30 years.
The program is accepting applications for Class XVII, which will begin in January 2020.
"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. "The alumni from this program have gone on to become state leaders."
Bobby Soileau, who oversees the program, said noted leadership author Warren Bennis wrote, "Leadership is turning your vision into reality."
"For many people in Louisiana agriculture, that vision began with the LSU AgCenter Agricultural Leadership Development Program," Soileau said.
Established in 1988, the Ag Leadership Program provides potential leaders involved with agriculture and agribusiness the tools they need to become a more effective voice for agriculture.
Since its inception, more than 400 people have graduated from the program.
"It is a great opportunity to learn about the critical issues facing agriculture," said Soileau. "In addition, the leadership skills participants develop give them the confidence they need to become more effective communicators and leaders for agriculture."
The curriculum includes 10 seminars during the two years – seven lecture-based seminars in various locations throughout the state and three travel seminars. The travel seminars include visits to Washington, D.C., to meet with the country's leaders in agricultural policy, and to California to see how their agricultural operations deal with environmental regulatory issues. 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.
Participants pay a small portion of the costs for their study and travel. The bulk of the program funding is underwritten by endowments and annual giving through the LSU Foundation, including the Chalkley Family Endowment, the H. Rouse Caffey Endowment, the Robert R. Soileau Scholarship Endowment and the Ag Leaders of Louisiana Endowment.
To apply, go to www.lsuagcenter.com/agleadership.
Contributed by LSU AgCenter