I am excited to tell you all about the wonderful opportunity I have to participate as a member of Class 34 of Leadership Idaho Agriculture. The first session, in Moscow, ID, starts Monday, November 4th and will run through Thursday. The next session will be in Pocatello in December, in Twin Falls in January, and in Boise in February, during the Legislature. Both my parents and my Grandpa have gone through the LIA course, so I will be the 3rd generation in our family to have done so.
Each session will be an intense four days of seminars, speakers, group discussions, panels, tours and more. The program is designed to provide concentrated leadership training for people involved or associated with farming and ranching in Idaho. In my class, there are people from all over the state, and from all backgrounds – ag teachers, farmers, ranchers, ag scientists, BLM and USDA employees, and me…an ag blogger and farm manager. A little outside the norm for this program, but relevant, as social media becomes more important for promoting and educating people about farming and agriculture.
The LIA program has been around since 1986. Each class since then has had between 10 and 30 members, although recently they have mandated a minimum of 20 members to provide better learning experiences. There have been less than one thousand graduates of LIA, so when I found out that people had actually been turned away for this year’s class, I felt even more honored to have been accepted. I believe my class is one of the youngest classes ever, and also has the largest number of women of any class.
Within Idaho, LIA program graduates are highly regarded, and participation in the program is an unspoken requirement for advancement in some ag organizations. LIA gives participants access to a network of fellow graduates in all areas of government and private commerce, including members of the Idaho legislature.
38 states have agricultural leadership programs like LIA. Like Idaho’s, they train their future agricultural leaders, and turn out excellent, highly sought-after farmers, ranchers, government and private employees.
I’ll be writing about each session as it happens, so be on the lookout for a post or two coming next week! You can check out the LIA website here.