North Dakota: Rural Leadership ND recruiting for 2011-13 class |

North Dakota: Rural Leadership ND recruiting for 2011-13 class

If you want to improve your organization, business, farm or ranch operation, or community, the North Dakota State University Extension Service’s Rural Leadership North Dakota program (RLND) can help.

RLND is looking for participants for its next class, which begins in December.

RLND is an 18-month leadership development program that includes in-state seminars with experts; tours of agricultural and community businesses; out-of-state trips (Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis in 2012) to meet with agricultural, business and government leaders; and a trip to another country (Brazil in February 2013) to learn about international agricultural and community issues.

Participants learn leadership skills, such as thinking critically and creatively, communicating effectively and managing conflict. They also learn about agricultural and rural policy, the agricultural economy and future trends that could affect North Dakota agriculture, finding innovative ways to fund local and regional development projects, marketing, civic engagement, the value of coalitions and partnerships, industry and community advocacy, and how to work with the state Legislature.

“RLND is designed for men and women who are dedicated to strengthening agriculture and rural North Dakota,” said Marie Hvidsten, RLND program director. “It helps participants create a network of contacts and resources they can continue to tap into for ideas, answers and support long after they graduate from the program.”

Participants also find a way to use the skills they’ve learned to improve their operation, business, organization, community or region. For example, one member of the RNLD class of 2009-11 worked on obtaining year-round weather radar coverage for southwestern North Dakota’s Bowman County and the surrounding area.

Residents had been able to receive warnings about threatening weather only from May through August.

Another class member organized a group of volunteers who checked smoke alarms and changed batteries in smoke detectors for elderly residents in Bismarck. A third class member developed the Rural Renaissance Festival, a fall celebration to draw attention to Maddock as a great place to work, live, and raise a family; boost the community’s economy; and involve the entire community, including residents, businesses, clubs and organizations.

The tuition for the RLND program is $3,750. That covers all meals, hotels and travel expenses such as buses during in-state seminars and airfares to out-of-state seminars. Participants are responsible for their travel costs to in-state seminars and points of departure for out-of-state seminars.

The deadline to apply to join the class of 2011-13 is May 31. Applicants must have been a state resident for at least a year and be able to attend all of the seminars.

For more information, to register or nominate someone for the class, visit RLND’s Web site at, send an e-mail to or call 701-231-5803.

Seventy-two people from 48 communities in 32 counties have participated in RLND since it began in November 2003.

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