Rural Leadership North Dakota


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RLND Seeking Participants for 7th Class

If you want to improve your farm or ranch operation, business, organization or community and develop your personal skills, the North Dakota State University Extension Service’s Rural Leadership North Dakota program can help. Rural Leadership North Dakota (RLND) is looking for participants for its seventh class, which begins in November.

RLND is an 18-month leadership development program that prepares leaders for North Dakota’s future. The program includes in-state seminars with experts; tours of agricultural and community businesses; out-of-state trips (Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis in 2016) to meet with agricultural, business and government leaders; and a trip to another country (destination to be determined) to learn about international agricultural and community issues. Previous classes have visited Brazil, Costa Rica and Panama.

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

In addition, participants create a network of contacts and resources they can continue to tap into for ideas, answers and support long after they graduate from the program.

“Rural Leadership North Dakota is the premier statewide leadership program in North Dakota,” says Marie Hvidsten, RLND program director. “If you are seeking a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn more about yourself, the state, country and world to help move North Dakota forward, then we want you in Class VII of the RLND program.”

Participants also find a way to use the skills they’ve learned to strengthen their operation, business, organization, community or region. For example, one member of the RLND class of 2013-15 is working on opening a grocery store in Fordville.

Another class member is working on getting mental health education in Ellendale schools. Other class members have developed efforts to grow plants in the elementary school in Thompson, start a heifer exchange program in Dickinson and hold a golf tournament to raise scholarship funds in Carrington.

“Through the RLND program, I have learned to step outside of the classroom and immerse myself in a variety of cultural experiences, which has helped me become a true leader,” says 2013-15 class member Julie Gemmill of Fordville. “Participating in the RLND program helped me build confidence, character and communication skills to form invaluable connections at the regional, national and international levels. Applying for the RLND program was one of the best career decisions I have made.”

The tuition for the RLND program is $3,750. That covers all meals, hotels and travel expenses such as buses during in-state seminars and airfare to out-of-state seminars. Participants are responsible for their travel costs to in-state seminars and points of departure for out-of-state seminars.

The deadline to apply to join the class of 2015-17 is June 30. Applicants must have been a state resident for at least a year and be able to attend all of the seminars.

For more information or to register or nominate someone for the class, visit RLND’s website at, send an email to or call (701) 231-5803. Also check out RLND on Facebook at

One hundred eleven people from 65 communities in 36 counties have participated in RLND since it began in November 2003.

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