Rural Leadership North Dakota seeks participants for sixth class by June 15

Farm Forum

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 can help.

Rural Leadership North Dakota is looking for participants for its next class, which begins in November.

RLND is an 18-month leadership development program that develops leaders for North Dakota’s future. The program includes in-state seminars with experts; tours of agricultural and community businesses; out-of-state trips (Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis in 2014) to meet with agricultural, business and government leaders; and a trip to another country (destination to be determined) 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, 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 want to strengthen their leadership skills and learn more about North Dakota, the U.S. and the world,” says 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, two members of the RLND class of 2011-13 are working on building day-care centers for their communities. Day-care centers are a need for many North Dakota communities.

Another class member is working on updating his community’s website. A third class member is working with tribal youth on livestock projects and establishing a foundation for leadership training for youth.

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 airfare 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 2013-15 is June 15. Applicants must have been a state resident for at least a year and be able to attend all of the seminars.

For more information, visit RLND’s website at, send an e-mail to or call (701) 231-5803.

Ninety-four people from 57 communities in 36 counties have participated in RLND since it began in November 2003.