S.D. ag program looking for leaders

S.D. ag program looking for leaders South Dakota Agricultural and Rural Leadership (SDARL) is looking for 30 highly motivated individuals with demonstrated leadership potential for participation in its Class III program.

SDARL, a private, not-for-profit organization, is dedicated to identifying and developing leadership for agriculture and rural communities to enhance

the quality of life for all South Dakotans.

Agriculture in South Dakota is affected by changing consumer preferences, environmental regulations, national agriculture and monetary policies and international markets. To ensure that the state's rural and agricultural community can keep pace with the rate of change, informed, decisive, communicative spokespersons are needed to represent the industry and communities, keeping the public factually informed as policies are formed

and decisions are made.

Each SDARL class is composed of up to 30 individuals who are actively involved in production agriculture and/or agribusiness. Class II members

were chosen from 58 applicants.

Selection criteria include:


* Resident of South Dakota and citizen of United States.


* Women and men in the general age range of 25 to 55.


* Involved in farming, ranching, agribusiness, rural leadership or other agriculturally related occupations.


* Demonstrated leadership potential.


* Willingness and ability to adjust personal business interests to accommodate in-state and study/travel seminars.

The SDARL program consists of 12 seminars over a two-year period. Ten are two- to three-day in-state seminars. The national seminar is a six-day study/travel seminar to Washington, DC. The international travel seminar is a two-week study seminar. Class I visited New Zealand/Australia. Class II will study/travel in the Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

Those chosen to be SDARL Fellows can expect:


* Increased understanding of public issues, including land use, energy, water, economic development, human services and how to impact public policy.


* Increased group dynamic skills for leading discussion and problem solving activities among competing groups.


* Increased analytical skills for evaluating alternative solutions to problems and responding to ever-changing environments.


* Increased understanding of how organizations function and how decisions are made and implemented in the community.


* Increased understanding of government and business roles in helping to solve public issues.


* Enhanced leadership skills, the catalyst for the democratic process.


* Increased interpersonal skills, including positive changes in self image

and self esteem.

SDARL strives to enhance rural and agricultural representation, improve professionalism, increase community involvement, sharpen promotional skills, boost urban support and understanding, reduce isolationism and enrich the quality of life in the state of South Dakota.

Dan Gee, executive director, said, "The program has been great for agriculture and rural communities in South Dakota. Class members say the leadership experience is well worth the time."

For more information, call Gee at (605) 688-5440 or e-mail him at Dan_Gee@sdstate.edu. The SDARL home-

page can be viewed at http://www.abs.sdate.edu/SDARL/.

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