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Class students picked for two-year program; visit foreign nations

T.J. Burnham 1, Editor, Western Farmer-Stockman

December 16, 2014

3 Min Read

The search is over in Colorado for agribusiness personnel to participate in the new Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program as 22 members of the farm community have signed up for Class 12 of CALP.

The program, which runs for two years, is an intensive study of agriculture worldwide that is designed to equip members of the ag community in Colorado wo become leaders in their separate fields of operation.

The program, which received new life under the Colorado Department of Agriculture leadership of Commissioner John Salazar -- who retired  at the end of 2014 -- stepped up its campaigns for members during his administration.

"Given the critical issues facing agriculture today, there is a need to provide an intensive leadership program to develop a new generation of leaders," says Colorado State Representative Jerry Sonnenberg, Board President of the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program, and a graduate of the program himself, as is Salazar.

The course focuses on communications, government, policy, economics, social and cultural issues and change management in the agricultural industry, where new ways of farming using the latest technology is changing the way farmers  work. At the same time, critics of the farm industry continue to create controversy over the business of  producing food and fiber.

Through the program, leaders will have an opportunity to travel internationally, nationally and throughout Colorado to expand their knowledge on the  global scale of the agricultural industry.

The initial session of the new class will open this month on the 25th with the annual Governor's Forum on Colorado Agriculture meeting in Denver, Colo.  in February.

The new class is made  up of the following Colorado agricultural representatives:
Gregory Bloom, The Beef Pro - Lone Tree
Eric Brown, Colorado Corn - Fort Collins
Maria Bumgarner, Jefferson Conservation District / USDA NRCS - Evergreen
David Collie, 5280 Culinary - Denver
Lauren Dever, Colorado Pork Producers Council - Keenesburg
Miguel Diaz, Martinez Farms, LLC - Monte Vista
Lily Edwards-Callaway, JBS - Fort Collins
Gabriel Elliott, Elliott Parts & Services, Elliott Land & Cattle, Hinterwalder Malting - Ault
Patricia Finke, USDA Farm Service Agency - Evergreen
Franklyn Garry, Colorado State University - Fort Collins
Misty George, Poverty Knob Ranch - Walsh
Jenifer Gurr, Colorado Department of Agriculture - Northglenn
Michael Hirakata, Hirakata Farms & Produce, LLC - Rocky Ford
Rio Jacober, Crystal River Meats, JBC Agricultural Management, LJ Farms - Carbondale
Will Johnson, Flying Diamond Ranch - Kit Carson
Craig McConnel, Colorado State University - Fort Collins
Brandon McEndaffer, Compass Ag Solutions - Fort Collins
Lisa Nichols, Loveland Products, Inc. - Loveland
Jeff Pieper, Colorado State University - Gypsum
Micah Seyler, Monsanto - Joes
Joseph Teipel, Revision International - Denver
Kathryn Westcott, Loveland Products, Inc. - Loveland

Participants in the program agree to pay a $3,500 tuition to take part in the new class. About $1,500 of that is paid directly by the participant, or by the the business or employer of the member. The remaining $2,000 is normally raised by funding events  by the participant who  involves local organizations and businesses to sponsor the student's involvement in the program.

Detailed program information is online at www.coloagleaders.org

About the Author(s)

T.J. Burnham 1

Editor, Western Farmer-Stockman

T.J. Burnham has covered western agriculture for 42 years. A University of Michigan journalism program grad, he worked for The Sacramento Bee for 15 years before moving into specialty farm magazine writing. He has been on the Farm Progress staff for 10 years.

"A lot of my uncles back in Michigan were farmers, but my interest was primarily to become a hot shot city desk reporter. Once I was given a job at the Bee on the metro desk, they told me that they’d hired too many new reporters, and half of us had to go. However, they said there was an opening in the newspaper’s ag division, and if I worked there until the probationary period was over, I could be reassigned to general reporting. I took the job, but by the time the probation period was ended, I found I enjoyed covering ag so much that I never asked to go back to the city side.”

T.J. joined Farm Progress as a California Farmer reporter, then became editor of the Western Farmer-Stockman. He has earned a reputation in the West as a strong source of direct seed information, and has affiliated Western Farmer-Stockman as the official magazine of the Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association.

His wife, Sally, writes for the magazine and helps with bookwork concerning freelance writers from the eight western state arena which the magazine serves.

T.J. likes hiking and fishing, and dabbles in woodworking projects. He also enjoys gardening and photography.

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