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Statewide agricultural leadership program now accepting applications By Merritt Melancon

The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is now accepting applications for the inaugural class of the Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture program.

The program, spearheaded by the CAES department of agricultural leadership, education and communication, aims to educate and empower Georgia business leaders to become effective advocates for the largest economic driver in Georgia: the state’s agriculture and natural resource industries.

“Without a program in place, the agriculture and natural resources industries are left with the difficult challenge of coming together on issues, understanding how each of the sectors are related and can benefit from one another, and ... establishing positive relationships throughout the state and nation,” said Rochelle Strickland, the program’s founding director and a public service assistant in the department.

The program will bring together leaders from all segments of the agriculture and natural resources industries. Over a two-year period, the inaugural class will help one another understand and analyze the issues facing their industries as well as challenges that may emerge in the future.

Participants will attend eight sessions held across the state and travel to Washington, D.C., and abroad to study Georgia’s involvement with international trade.

The first class of 25 to 30 participants will be chosen through an application and nomination process, which will begin this month. The application deadline is July 13. The program begins this fall.

Applicants have to be at least 25 years old, be actively involved in an agricultural- or natural resource-related industry and have demonstrated strong leadership potential.

Organizers aim to choose a diverse group of participants in regards to age, ethnicity and gender, geographic location, professional background and experience level.

For more information or to apply to the Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture program, see www.agla.caes.uga.edu or call Strickland at 706-542-1204.

(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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