EXTENSION ANNOUNCES CLASS VIII OF LEADERS
AUBURN, Ala.-- The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has announced the start of Class VIII of the Alabama Agriculture and Forestry Leadership Development Program.
LEADERS, as the program is commonly known, is a 50-day educational experience taken over two years and intended for promising adults working in the agricultural and natural resources industries. The program begins with a three-day study institute August 17-19 at Eufaula. Class VIII will graduate in August 2006.
Administered through the Extension in conjunction with the Auburn University College of Agriculture and School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, LEADERS, which completed its twentieth year in 2004, is the oldest program of its kind in the South. It and similar programs throughout the country were initially funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan.
In addition to the Eufaula study institute, the class will meet at six other cities throughout the state during the next two years. It will also complete a national study tour the first year and an international tour the second year before graduation in 2006. The purpose of LEADERS is to develop participants' leadership skills, to enhance their understanding of the broader industry, including the public policy process, and to teach general citizenship education.
LEADERS participants pay a basic tuition fee, although the program is also financially supported by the agricultural and natural resources industries. Major sponsors include the Alabama Farmers Federation, the Alabama Forestry Commission, the Alabama Poultry and Egg Association, the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, Gold Kist Corporation, and the Alabama Farmers Cooperative, Inc. Other sponsors include a broad cross-section of businesses and individuals who support leadership education within the food and fiber industry.
The class consists of 27 individuals, a diverse group from across the state and including not only farmers and forest landowners but professionals in the field. Since the target audience for LEADERS is 25- to 40-year-olds, the typical participant is about 30.
The 27 Class VIII participants include Randy Akridge (Brewton); Amy Belcher (Hope Hull); Brad Brooks (Killen); Chris Carter (Athens); Gary Cole (Excel); Jerry Dwyer (Auburn); Scott Hamilton ( Phil Campbell); Brian Hardin (Millbrook); Patrick Harrigan (Monroeville); Mary Hicks (Prattville); Townsend Kyser (Greensboro); Andy Lavender (Roeton); Dawn Lazenby (Society Hill); Joe Lovvorn (Graham); James Miles (Mobile); Richy Naisbett (Demopolis); James Owens (Aliceville); Rodney Rhodes (Brewton); Jeff Sibley (Auburn); Scott Skelton (Chunchula); Kent Stanford (Ashville); J. J. Watson (Pine Apple); Jennifer Wells (Dothan); Larry Wells (Headland); Burk Williams (Centre); Davy Wright (Plantersville); and Jamie Yeager (Marion Junction).
The LEADERS Program has 190 graduates who are active in industry leadership as well as their local communities. Dr. Dennis Evans, an Extension specialist and a professor in the Auburn University Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, directs the program.