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MARL Heads For Morocco

Class VI learns about North African/Muslim culture, food, agriculture.

Class VI of the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership program recently returned from its international study experience in Morocco

From Feb. 19-29, MARL members enjoyed a culture-broadening experience. They observed Muslim religious practices, dined on deliciously spiced Moroccan foods, and toured historical sites, ag research centers and farms. Throughout their adventure, they were graciously welcomed onto farms and in homes, and encouraged to return.

In Morocco, Class VI visited a donkey veterinary hospital and the historic medina in Fez; learned about ag research (olive trees and oil) and visited farms near Meknes; enjoyed dinner at the home of U.S. Ambassador Sam and Sylvia Kaplan, also from Minnesota, in the capital city of Rabat; visited the U.S. Embassy in Rabat; toured a poverty-stricken area of Kenitra and visited an after-school enrichment program for students and mothers; and toured a feedlot/dairy cooperative and dairy farm near Taroudant.

Class VI is comprised of 32 professionals from across the state. Two-thirds of the participants are active in farming and one-third work in ag-related industries, rural businesses and rural communities. Class VI began its 18-month program in November 2010 with an orientation seminar in St. Cloud. Since then, it has met in Marshall, St. Paul, Washington, D.C., Itasca, Duluth, Moorhead, Rochester and Windom. Each location features leadership and regional studies.

The MARL program is led by a board of directors that represent interests of the agricultural sectors and rural communities in Minnesota. The board partners with the U-M Extension and Southwest Minnesota State University to deliver the program.

Applications are currently being accepted for Class VII and interviews will be scheduled in April.

For more information, please visit www.MARLprogram.org

Editor's note: Paula Mohr, editor of The Farmer, is a member of MARL Class VI.

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