LEADelaware seeks new generation of agriculture leaders for its 2012-2014 class

LEADelaware, sponsored by the University of Delaware, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UD Cooperative Extension, and the Delaware Department of Agriculture is seeking new candidates to train as agricultural leadership fellows for its two-year program that will begin in the fall, 2012.

As an industry, agriculture contributes $8 billion dollars annually to the Delaware economy, according to a 2010 University of Delaware study. Continued effective and progressive leadership in the agriculture sector is essential.

LEADelaware is an agricultural and natural resource leadership program designed to help build the next generation of leaders within the food and fiber industries.

During the two-year training program, fellows will participate in teamwork and leadership-capacity building exercises. They will be provided opportunities to practice these skills and will visit local and regional agribusinesses, and meet with policy makers that affect the agriculture industry. In the second year, the LEADelaware class will plan an international trip to experience diverse agricultural practices, thus broadening their perspectives. The first and second classes visited Chile and Peru, respectively.

“LEADelaware is an opportunity to learn and experience leadership,” says Bill McGowan, UD community development Extension agent in Sussex County and part of a three-member leadership team that will conduct class sessions beginning in the fall of 2012.

McGowan explained that LEADelware fellows will work together over two years on a variety of agriculture and natural resource issues, all the while developing and enhancing personal and organizational leadership skills.

“People come together as strangers or acquaintances and form long-standing relationships that expand their capacities, help them to engage on issues critical to Delaware and regional agriculture, and gain an international perspective as well, “ McGowan said.  “LEADelaware is a great start for those ready to expand their horizons and embark on a continual learning adventure.”

Joining McGowan in coordinating the program and leading the sessions are Tom Ilvento, chair of UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Department of Food and Resource Economics, Laurie Wolinski, UD Extension Associate in Food and Resource Economics.

Past fellows have included agricultural Extension agents, high school agriculture teachers, farmers, agency personnel representing USDA Farm Service Agency, Natural Resource and Conservation Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Delaware Department of Agriculture and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, MidAtlantic Farm Credit, an aerial applicator, and commercial agriculture industry professionals.

The LEADelaware programs seeks to fulfill its third class, recruiting 15-20 individuals from diverse agricultural professions.

For more information about LEADelaware and the application process for Class III, contact Laurie Wolinkski at or call (302) 831-2538.

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