COLLEGE STATION - It’s a tall order: complete an intensive, two-year course on agriculture worldwide and then be ready to lead others in the industry.
But 24 people accepted the challenge and will graduate from Texas Agriculture Lifetime Leadership on June 5 during a ceremony in College Station.
“From farm and ranch to processor and supermarket, Texas agriculture faces unabated change,” said Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz, coordinator of the leadership program. “We assist people in realizing their potential for leadership during this time of critical change.”
The leadership program, called TALL, is led by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. It focuses on international communications, ecology, government policy, economics, social problems and education opportunities, according to Mazurkiewicz. This class, the 10th since the program started, traveled to China as part of its examination of the impact of agriculture worldwide.
“Participants return from the international trip with greater insights to agriculture’s global problems and challenges,” he added.
Graduates in this year’s class expressed a feeling that the two years of instruction and experiences have enabled them to be better leaders in the agriculture industry and to extend their knowledge to other groups who may not be as aware of the impact of food and fiber production throughout society.
“Our challenge as a class and as representatives of Texas agriculture will be to embrace agriculture in its entirety and to promote its differences in a coordinated effort to a public who is either indifferent or unaware of the impact and importance of agriculture on their daily lives,” said Cory Bruce of Amarillo, vice president of Panhandle-Plains Land Bank.
For Lynn Angell of Boerne, leaders whom he met while in the program gave a sense of the “zeal, excitement and commitment” to the industry.
“It has increased my knowledge far beyond my immediate field,” said Angell, a chemical salesman for Monsanto. “TALL has prepared and motivated me to give more to the people of Texas.”
Others graduating this year are:
- J.J. Barto of Dallas, president of J. Barto Enterprises.
- Albert Chapa Jr. of Rio Grande City, training instructor for John Deere Co.
- Jeff Conner of Hewitt, district manager-retail specialist, Land O’Lakes Purina Feed.
- Davon Cook of Ropesville, assistant manager, Buster’s Gin, Ltd.
- Clint Cryer of Lubbock, assistant vice president relationship management, CoBank.
- Chad Elkins of Eldorado, attorney and partner in Elkins Ranch.
- Ed Erwin of El Campo, partner, El Campo Sheet Metal.
- Duel Glass III of Overton, Glass Farm.
- Geoff Haney of Abilene, senior trader, Cape and Son.
- Clayton Henry of Vernon, attorney and co-manager RMCH Farms and Camp Creek Ranch.
- Terry Hlavinka of East Bernard, vice president/general manager, Hlavinka Equipment Co.
- Beverly Moseley of Bryan, editor, Land & Livestock Post, The Bryan-College Station Eagle.
- Richie Moss of Tyler, manager of warehouse operations and transportation, East Texas Seed Co.
- Thomas Northcutt of Dallas, chief inspector for regulatory programs, Texas Department of Agriculture.
- Trae’ Ottmers of Fredericksburg, assistant vice president-lending, Capital Farm Credit in Mason.
- Eva Perry of Stephenville, senior marketing specialist, Texas Department of Agriculture.
- Marc Shepard of Crawford, John Deere Crop Insurance Agent, Hargrove Crop Insurance.
- Shannon Sneary of Austin, committee clerk, Texas House of Representatives Committee on Energy
- E. Berry Summerour II of Houston, co-founder and managing director, Acala Partners, Inc.
- Charley Triplett of Lubbock, grower services manager, Plains Cotton Cooperative Association.
- Charles Vincent II of Houston, district sales manager, SmithField Foodservice.
- Rich Zarria of Austin, owner, BioGardener.