DANVILLE, Ind. — The 16th class now is being formed for the
Agricultural Leadership Program of AgrIInstitute. The program is offered for those interested in enhancing
leadership skills and gaining perspective of the agricultural industry.
“It’s a two-year leadership development program for adults
involved in some aspect of the ag industry,” said Beth Archer, executive
director of AgrIInstitute. “We study a variety of different subject matters and
spend a lot of time learning to understand various public policy issues that
Participants have the opportunity to travel across the U.S.
and the globe during the 12 seminars that comprise the program. Ten seminars
will be located in Indiana, one in Washington, D.C., and one in a study-abroad
destination unique to each class.
“The primary goal of our week in D.C. is to better
understand how federal policy issues work, decision-making and who is involved,”
Archer explained. “We learn what organizations are involved in making and
influencing decisions that impact agriculture.”
During the two-week international study, students will
travel to a country to study foreign policies, agriculture and culture.
The current class will travel to Brussels, Amsterdam and
Liberia in February. Past countries that have been visited include France,
Taiwan, Vietnam, Israel and Chile.
“During our foreign studies seminar, we focus on learning as
much as we can about the ag system in that country, as well as sales and
marketing and distribution systems,” Archer said. “We look at what the ag
industry looks like in terms of crops and various production practices.”
Archer said that they also take in cultural sights and
experiences while traveling. She hopes students leave with a better sense of
economical, cultural and political perspective of that country.
“I think the thing that is most valuable about this program
is that every class gets exposed to a broad range of subject matter,” she said.
“There’s opportunity to learn and enhance leadership skills so they can be more
effective in roles.
“They are in a class of 30 that has a diversity of age and
backgrounds, so they can learn from each other. The educational base is strong
but, networking opportunities are also incredibly valuable.”
AgrIInstitute invests around $15,000 in each person who
participates. Thanks to help from sponsors and partners, each student pays
$5,000 total, covering lodging, meals, airfare and most expenses.
“We’re a nonprofit organization funded solely from the ag
industry and all of our allied partners,” Archer stressed. “Our purpose is to
build the leadership capacities of the industry. We work on the people side of
Recently, AgrIInstitute elected its new leadership team.
Janelle Deatsman, communications manager for Maple Leaf Farms, was elected
chairperson of the board of directors.
“The Indiana Agricultural Leadership Program is the
cornerstone of our organization,” she said. “Although we offer other programs
and events to engage those involved in agricultural industries and promote
leadership development, the ALP class that we offer every two years is what our
organization is best known for and something that we proudly work to foster for
future generations of agricultural leaders in Indiana.”
Deatsman said she has heard positive feedback from many who
have completed the program.
“I recently had the pleasure of reading some testimonials
from past participants in the Indiana Agricultural Leadership Program and was
blown away by the great things they had to say,” she said. “Some participants
credited the program with providing the tools and knowledge they needed to
affect change in their local communities.
“Others recognized the program for expanding their worldview
on a myriad of topics. It was evident that each person had benefited from their
ALP experience in significant, but different ways.”
Deatsman grew up on a small purebred cattle farm in
Kosciusko County. She studied animal sciences and agricultural communications at
Purdue University. Upon graduation, she began working at Maple Leaf Farms and in
2010 completed the leadership program herself.
Other new officials include Vice Chairperson Eric Schilling
of Elanco Animal Health, Secretary Bob Fulling of Rabo Agrifinance and Treasurer
Dan Arnholt of Sudan Farms.
“I can’t say enough about the leadership that our board
provides this organization,” Archer said. “The leadership of our board gives
direction to our organization. They are basically responsible to make sure our
organization is viable for the industry, that we’re doing the right kind of
things in terms of funding. They are incredibly strong advocates for the
The deadline for applications is Jan. 10. Candidates will be
selected in February and begin the program in July.
Those interested in applying should contact AgrIInstitute at
(317) 745-0947 or firstname.lastname@example.org.