Training Kentucky's ag leaders

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By Rick Greenwell

In Kentucky, agriculture and agribusiness account for more than 16 percent of the gross state product and more than 20 percent of the total employment.  As a vital component of the state’s overall economy, agriculture faces many challenges which are increasingly complex as U.S. agriculture becomes more fully integrated into the U.S. economy and the global sector as well.

To deal with this complex world, agriculture needs leaders who understand the important issues facing society and who can communicate a vision to an increasingly urban audience.

The Kentucky Agricultural Leadership Program (KALP), a statewide agricultural leadership program for individuals involved in farming and the agribusiness industry, was created to provide leadership training for individuals involved in this vital industry in the Commonwealth.

Steve Isaacs, a program co-director and Ag Economist at the UK College of Agriculture, says the new class of KALP participants is a true reflection of the diversity in Kentucky agriculture today.   Individuals come from Lawrence County to Ballard County, grads from UK and all regional universities, full-time farmers, agribusiness people, representatives from small to large farm, Democrats and Republicans, Baptists and Catholics, bringing together a diversity of interest and ideas.

KALP focuses on enhancing participant’s leadership skills, management skills, networking, and knowledge of economic issues such as trade, globalization, state, and federal farm policy.

Will Snell, a program co-director and Ag Economist at the UK College of Agriculture says, the Kentucky Ag Leadership Program is not only about agriculture, it’s also about understanding one’s self and the role individuals can play an important rural and urban issues, public  policy, global economy, and effective communications.

As KALP’s Class IX begins its fifteen month journey they can look forward to seminars and hands on training at farms and agribusinesses in Kentucky.  They will also take part in travel seminars, which include a trip to Washington D.C. and an international tour to gain a better understanding of the global agriculture industry.

Will Snell says that when we invest in leadership, we’re investing in people.  In the case of KALP people who happen to have a passion for the agricultural and agribusiness sector.  I have no doubt this new class of KALP students will continue the great tradition we have seen in our alumni, many of who have gone on to be leaders in Kentucky agriculture.

We wanted to share this about the Kentucky’s Ag Leadership Program.  Richard Medley, local leader, farmer and AG Credit employee is participating in this program this year.

To learn more about KAP visit www.uky.edyu/Ag/KALP