By OSU Extension Services
The Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Program is continuing to build on its success as the program celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
Oklahomans who are engaged in the agricultural industry and are looking for a way to enhance their leadership skills should consider applying for the Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Program Class XVI.
Since its inception in 1982, OALP has graduated 427 participants and continues to grow and offer class members new and exciting opportunities, said Edmond Bonjour, OALP director.
“Our overall objective for the OALP is to further develop emerging leaders for Oklahoma agriculture,” Bonjour said. “We develop our leaders through a series of seminars and study tours over a 20-month period. We also expose participants to cutting-edge changes that are occurring in the agriculture industry and agribusiness.”
OALP has been recognized as one of Oklahoma’s top leadership programs for emerging agricultural leaders. The program is open to Oklahoma men and women between the ages of 25 and 45 who are engaged in production agriculture or a related agricultural business.
Applications for OALP’s Class XVI are available online at http://oalp.okstate.edu . The deadline for submitting an application and letters of reference is May 1. Those interested are encouraged to apply early. The class size is limited to 30 participants.
Bonjour said the 20-month program consists of 11 three-day seminars and study tours within Oklahoma, a week-long seminar in Washington, D.C., and a two-week international experience near the end of the program.
“We have three basic objectives in OALP. First, the program is designed to help potential leaders develop a deeper and fuller appreciation of people,” he said. “While members of previous classes began the program with some leadership skills, they completed the class with an even broader understanding and appreciation of people throughout the United States and the world.”
The second objective of the program is designed to help potential leaders develop a better understanding of basic systems of economics and government. Many of the opportunities and problems facing agriculture today are economic in nature. In addition, many of the solutions to economic problems and economic opportunities exist beyond the borders of Oklahoma and beyond the boundaries of the United States.
The third objective is to help OALP participants utilize their understanding of people and their knowledge of systems of economics and government to solve problems and exploit opportunities for the state’s agricultural industry.
OALP’s Class XV recently returned from a two-week trip to Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The group enjoyed many agricultural related activities, including visiting sheep, beef and dairy farms.
“It was interesting to see the similarities and differences in the agricultural practices we have here and what they have in Ireland and Scotland,” Bonjour said.
The group also had time for some cultural activities including visiting the Guinness Store House, Kilkenny Castle, Blarney Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Cobh Heritage Center and the shipyard where the Titanic was built, as well as walking the Royal Mile in Edinburgh and visiting Edinburgh Castle.
Katie Reim, event and marketing coordinator for International Studies and Outreach at OSU, said she enjoyed her OALP experiences over the past two years.
“The Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Program was a great experience and allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the agriculture industry on a local, state, national and international level. Our trip to Scotland and Ireland was very memorable and broadened my understanding of agriculture, government and economics internationally,” Reim said. “OALP definitely was a great experience and I would encourage anyone with an interest in agriculture to become a part of this program.”
OALP began in 1982 through the joint efforts of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University and a state leadership advisory council comprised of recognized agricultural leaders in the state. A grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation helped fund the initial program.