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NDSU Extension Service, Published September 09 2013

NDSU rural leadership program selects sixth class

Farmers, ranchers, business owners, an occupational therapist, clinic operations director, marketing and workforce developer, loan officer and pastor are among the members of the North Dakota State University Extension Service's sixth Rural Leadership North Dakota class.

They are among 20 people chosen for the 2013-15 class of the state's premiere leadership development program. RLND has a 10-year history of helping North Dakotans gain the skills they need to help them shape the future of their organization, community and state.

RLND class VI participants are:

- Sam Arndorfer, Baldwin

- Corey Dathe, Fargo

- Deb Dressler, Richardton

- Julie Gemmill, Fordville

- Erika Kenner, Leeds

- Kyla Kinzler, Ellendale

- Lowann Krueger, Fargo

- Bob Lawson, Watford City

- David Lehman, Bismarck

- Stacey Lilja, Leonard

- Mary Mertens, Fargo

- Will Meyer, Dickinson

- Holly Miller, Jamestown

- Darren Olafson, Edinburg

- Laura Rutherford, Grafton

- Stacey Rzaszutak, Carrington

- John Samdahl, Thompson

- Mara Solberg, Horace

- Tamera Svanes, Kintyre

- Michelle Wall, Bismarck

The 18-month program, which starts in November, consists of seven in-state

seminars with experts on topics such as leadership, economic development and agriculture; tours of agricultural and community businesses; trips to

Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis to meet with agricultural, business and

governmental leaders; and an international seminar (location to be determined) to learn about global agricultural and community issues.

Participants will learn leadership skills such as effective communication,

consensus and team building, and conflict management. They also will learn about agricultural and rural policy, trends that could affect North Dakota

agriculture, innovative ways to fund local and regional development projects, marketing, civic engagement, scenario planning, leadership ethics, emotional intelligence, the value of coalitions and partnerships, industry and community advocacy, and how to work with the state Legislature.

In addition, participants will create a network of contacts and resources they can tap into for ideas, answers and support. Class members also will use the skills they've learned to improve their operation, business, organization, community or state.

RLND members have started businesses, funded new equipment for volunteer

emergency services and fire departments, worked with community leaders to

construct housing for seniors, obtained year-round weather radar coverage for an area in southwestern North Dakota, helped high school seniors develop leadership skills and learn about opportunities in their community, improved community recreational opportunities, and provided farm visits for children and adults to educate them about agriculture. In all, more than $4 million has been invested in 90-plus projects that RLND participants initiated.

Ninety-four people from 57 communities in 35 counties have graduated from RLND since it began in November 2003.

"We are very excited to have 20 outstanding participants in RLND Class VI," says Marie Hvidsten, RLND program director. "This group of diverse participants will be bringing a wealth of experiences and opinions to the 10 seminars, providing for robust conversation and deep learning. This class will have a positive and long-lasting impact on the industries they represent, their communities and the state."

For more information about RLND, visit its website at