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Rural Leadership North Dakota Selects 8th Class

Participants will develop leadership skills and learn about agricultural and rural policy, civic engagement and strategic planning.

Rural Leadership North Dakota’s eighth class includes farmers, a rancher, farm assistance program representatives, business owners, city and county officials, health care and bank personnel, a consultant and communications specialists.

They are among 26 people selected for the North Dakota State University Extension Service’s leadership development program that starts in November. They will spend 18 months developing skills to help them shape the future of their organization, community and state.

The 2017-19 program consists of in-state seminars with experts on topics such as leadership, economic development and agriculture; tours of agricultural and community businesses; out-of-state trips (Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis in 2018) to meet with agricultural, business and governmental leaders; and a trip abroad to learn about international agricultural and community issues. Previous classes visited Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Vietnam and Thailand.

Participants will learn leadership skills, such as thinking critically and creatively, communicating effectively, self-awareness, decision making, strategic planning and managing conflict. They also will learn about agricultural and rural policy, marketing, civic engagement, the value of coalitions and partnerships, industry and community advocacy, the agricultural economy and future trends that could affect North Dakota agriculture, finding innovative ways to fund local and regional development projects, and how to work with the state Legislature.

In addition, they’ll create a network of contacts and resources they can tap into for ideas, answers and support. They also will practice the skills they learn by creating a project that benefits their operation, business, organization, community or region.

For example, class VII (2015-17) members helped grow and harvest produce for local food banks, raise money for playground equipment and to pay off a community center’s debt, start a farmers market, promote agricultural sustainability, chronicle a county’s history through photographs, turn empty city lots into usable community space, and launch youth leadership programs.

“RLND has helped develop my communication and leadership skills,” says class VII member Daniel Janes of Horace. “More importantly, the RLND experience helped me reach far beyond my comfort zone and provided an amazing opportunity to experience North Dakota and the world while making friends with truly amazing people.”

Those selected for the 2017-19 class are: Chris Adams, Grand Forks; Paula Anderson, Regent; Jon Bertsch, Hillsboro; Kasey Bitz, LaMoure; Tyler Bowen, Bismarck; Ruth Buffalo, Fargo; Gwen Crawford, Kathryn; Matt Dahlke, Lincoln; Wade Elder, Watford City; Whitney Gonitzke, Kramer; Stephanie Goeller Johnson, Luverne; Suhail Kanwar, Watford City; Brooke Kessel, Hettinger; Kristen Knudtson, Fargo; Mandy Kvale, Thunder Hawk, S.D.; Shanda Morgan, Bismarck; Doug Naze, Surrey; Annika Plummer, Dickinson; Trudy Ruland, New Town; Chris Smaaladen, West Fargo; Bjorn Solberg, Horace; Brenda Stallman, Hillsboro; Searle Swedlund, Valley City; Tammy Jo Taft, Arthur; Marsha Van Laere, Northwood; and Heather VanGelder, Sidney, Mont.

“Starting a new RLND class is an exciting time for the 26 class VIII participants,” says Marie Hvidsten, RLND program director. “They will meet other North Dakotans who want to have an impact in their industry, organization and community. Class VIII participants are beginning an experience that will take them across North Dakota, the U.S. and the world.”

Since RLND began in November 2003, 144 people from 73 communities in 37 counties have graduated from the program.

NDSU Agriculture Communication - Oct. 5, 2017

Source:Marie Hvidsten, 701-231-5640, marie.hvidsten@ndsu.edu
Editor:Ellen Crawford, 701-231-5391, ellen.crawford@ndsu.edu
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