Twenty-five men and women from across Louisiana began a two-year venture in the LSU AgCenter's Agricultural Leadership Development Program when they attended their first classes this week (Jan. 3-5) in Baton Rouge.

“We believe investing in people is the way to ensure a vibrant future for agriculture and for the state,” said LSU AgCenter Chancellor Bill Richardson. “Our alumni from this program have gone on to become state leaders.”

Established in 1988, the Ag Leadership Program provides educational opportunities for potential leaders involved with agriculture and agribusiness, according to Dr. Mike Futrell, who serves as program director for the LSU AgCenter. Since its inception, more than 250 people have graduated from the program.

“This is our 10th group,” Futrell said of the class that began in January, explaining, “The curriculum includes 10 seminars during two years of study.”

The off-campus seminars include visits to Washington, D.C., to meet with the country's leaders in agricultural policy and to Chicago to see the Board of Trade in operation. The final seminar is an international study tour during which the group visits another country to learn how other agricultural, economic and social systems work.

Members of Class 10 in the program include: David Bergeron, Evergreen; Joel Cape, New Orleans; Bill Cheek, Lecompte'; Trent Clark, Bordelonville; Darrell Cobb, Scott; Joel Ducote, Plaquemine; Pete Dufresne, Paulina; Ben Guthrie, Newellton; Mark Hebert, Shreveport; Jennifer Hill, Livonia; Nan Huff, Waterproof; Clayton Hurdle, Rosedale; Ryan Kirby, Shreveport; Dan Klein, St. Francisville; Rosemary Lassiter, Stonewall; Scooter LaCoste, Morganza; Jeff Masson, New Orleans; Rex Morgan, Rayville; Cindy Perret, Edgard; Bill Sherman, Baton Rouge; Robert Tassin, Alexandria; Kevin Voisin, Houma; James White, Jonesville; Cathy Williams, Baton Rouge; Ben Wilson, Zachary.