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Indiana Ag Leadership Program Set to Reinvent Itself

Gala event marks 25 years of service.

The granddaddy of leadership training programs in Indiana celebrates 25 years of service to Indiana agriculture this week. And it will do so in fine style, holding a benefit auction at one of agriculture's newest and premier facilities- the Beck Ag Center at The Purdue University Agronomic Research Center near West Lafayette.

It's the Indiana Ag Leadership Program, and Beth Archer, Executive Director for the organization, says it's about to get a facelift. The organization will reinvent itself in one way, unveiling a new branding effort in an attempt to rekindle recognition and enthusiasm for the program.

The 2008 Ag Leadership Program Benefit Auction will be special in that the unofficial unveiling of these new plans and brand will occur during the event. Benefit auctions for the Indiana Ag Leadership Program have been held in the past. Funds raised help sustain the organization, which primarily trains some of Indiana agriculture's brightest young leaders, both farmers and agribusiness persons alike.

The event begins at 5 p.m. EDT at the Beck Ag Center. If you're interested in details or want to support the Indiana Ag Leadership Program in some other way, you can contact the Program by reaching Archer at [email protected] Or you can call 317-745-0947. Headquarters for the Indiana Ag Leadership Program are located in Danville.

The 13th class to enter the statewide program will also be announced during the event. Some of Indiana's top leaders in farm organizations are former alumni of the program. In fact, Archer says that there are over 300 that are alumni of the program.

Started by the Indiana Ag Institute, which also had other aspirations, most of which have fell by the wayside, leaving the Indiana Ag Leadership Program as the shining star of that effort, there are typically approximately 30 individuals that begin a class. The program usually involves a two-year commitment to attend meetings and participate, and typically involves trips to Washington, D.C., to better learn how our own government works, and then to a foreign country to study agriculture abroad.

Several counties now have their own leadership programs. Most of those are open to anyone who aspires to be a leader in their community, not just o tag people. However, ag people, including ag businessmen, traditionally play a large role in these programs. Instead of running two years, most of these involve a one-year commitment. Many also require that the participant become involved in a service project.

In Johnson County, for example, one committee of Leadership Johnson County, is focusing on road safety between farmers and urban motorists as farmers head to the field this spring. The committee has plans to sponsor at least two billboards, with help from Johnson County Farm Bureau and Pioneer Hi-Bred International, amongst others. The committee is also co-sponsor of an ag education open house at the new Franklin Community High School on Saturday, March 22, 8:30 a.m,. to 11:30 p.m. Activities include a free-will donation pancake breakfast, plus tours of the facility, and safety programs on road travel and grain bin safety. There will also be presentations by FFA members concerning their studies of biofuels and its future as an alternative fuel source.

For details, contact Amber Wolfe, Franklin FFA advisor, at [email protected]. Leadership Johnson County and the Johnson County Farm Bureau are co-sponsors of this event.

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