The Woodward News

Local News

August 21, 2012

OALP class preparing to meet

Woodward, Okla. — STILLWATER - The latest class of the Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Program (OALP) is preparing for its initial session in today through Friday.

Trisha Gedon, OSU Agricultural communications specialist, said the courses comprise Class XVI's "Launch of the OALP Experience."

"The OALP, one of the state's top leadership programs for emerging agricultural leaders, has been going on for 30 years," Gedon said.

The course is a 20-month activity that focuses on developing leaders in the agri-business world and agriculture production.

She said the class consists of 11 3-day seminars and tours within Oklahoma, a week-long session in Washington, D.C., and a 2-week international trip.

Director Edmond Bonjour said students want to attend OALP to learn about aspects of agriculture outside their own field.

"We try to attract people in the early- or mid-portions of their careers, in production and agribusiness," he said.

From the agricultural production aspect, the group will be involved with learning about crop and tree farming; cattle, hog and sheep operations, and fruit and vegetable growth methods, Bonjour said.

On the business side, the OALP courses will feature education, agri-tourism, conservation, lending, law, a crop processor and a legislative liaison.

Bonjour said 26 participants from 16 counties have signed up for the program.

During the first session, Gedon said the class will learn about goal-setting, hear from OALP alumni about their experiences, get an overview of the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and have a presentation on understanding and defining leadership.

During the course, the group will also learn about the finer points of dining etiquette. This will help when the class conducts the Stillwater Community Dinner, a community service aspect of the training, Bonjour said.

Bonjour said signups for the 2012/2013 session were completed May 1.

In Washington, the program will begin with a tour of the Gettysburg battlefield.

"Pairs of class members will also spend a day with families from that area of Pennsylvania to see how agriculture works there," he said.

Later, the class will meet with legislators and interact with participants from other states who are involved with a program similar to OALP.

"They'll discuss agriculture matters in their states," said Bonjour.

The destination and subjects for the overseas trip will be wrapped up in the spring of 2013, he said.

"Security matters and the budget will also be finalized then," said Bonjour.

Enrollment for the next OALP will occur May 1, 2014. There are fees. He said to get all the details by checking the program's website,

Bonjour may also be contacted at (405) 744-8134.

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