Rural Leadership North Dakota honors supporters

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NDSU Extension

Kathleen Tweeten is the recipient of the Rural Leadership North Dakota (RLND) Leader Award for 2017.

Farm Credit Services of Mandan received the first RLND Champion Award.

RLND is the North Dakota State University Extension Service’s 18-month leadership development program. Participants learn leadership skills, such as thinking critically and creatively, communicating effectively, self-awareness, decision making, strategic planning and managing conflict. They also learn about agricultural and rural policy, marketing, civic engagement, the value of coalitions and partnerships, industry and community advocacy, the agricultural economy and future trends that could affect North Dakota agriculture, and finding innovative ways to fund local and regional development projects.

“Kathy’s vision and dedicated leadership to the RLND program have helped shape it into the premier statewide program it is today,” says Marie Hvidsten, RLND program director. “Over the past eight years, Farm Credit Services of Mandan has supported the RLND program in multiple ways, championing the mission of the program.”

Tweeten was instrumental in getting RLND established in 2002 and was involved in the program for 15 years, including chairing the search committee to select the program’s director, and serving on the RLND Council, Design Team and Curriculum Committee. She also has presented seminars for numerous RLND classes and was a program sponsor for six classes.

She joined NDSU as an Extension agent in 1985 and became an area leadership specialist in 1996 and an Extension community economic development specialist in 1998. She served as director of NDSU Extension’s Center for Community Vitality from 2004 until retiring in 2014.

“I was very honored to receive the award,” Tweeten says. “It means a great deal to me to see how far the program has come and to have gotten the opportunity to be part of it from the beginning.”

Farm Credit Services of Mandan (FCSM) has been a strong supporter of RLND, including as a tuition sponsor for four classes and a program sponsor at the $2,500 level for four classes. The agency also helped RLND secure a $10,000 National Farm Credit grant for one class, asked leaders at AgriBank in St. Paul., Minn., to visit with three class during RLND’s Minneapolis/St. Paul seminar and hosted numerous RLND Council meetings. In addition, FCSM employees served on the RLND Council for several years.

“FCSM is proud to be a strong supporter of such a great program, which is creating leaders in our community,” says Aaron Vetter, chief executive officer. “FCSM looks forward to the continued support of the RLND program and the students who are dedicated to the program and their communities.”

RLND Council chairman Mike O’Keeffe, right, presents Matt Dahlke, loan officer for Farm Credit Services of Mandan, with the RLND Champion Award that FCSM was honored with during the RLND Class VII graduation gala. NDSU photo
Kathleen Tweeten receives the Rural Leadership North Dakota Leader Award from Mike O’Keeffe, RLND Council chairman, during the RLND Class VII graduation gala. NDSU photo