COLLEGE STATION – Lawyers, farmers, bankers, government officials, ranchers and agriculture-related industry representatives banded together for two years with one aim: learn to be leaders.
Their intensive study of agriculture worldwide culminated this month when the Texas Agriculture Lifetime Leadership XII class graduated at a ceremony in College Station.
The Texas AgriLife Extension Service leads the program, known as TALL, which focuses on international communications, ecology, government, policy, economics, social problems and education opportunities, according to Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz, coordinator of the leadership program, headquartered in College Station.
This class, the 12th since the program started, traveled to India to learn about the global impact of it agriculture industry.
“The TALL Program provided me a unique opportunity to enhance my knowledge of the agricultural industry while creating lifelong friendships and networking opportunities,” said Tanya Foerster of Lubbock, “I will forever be grateful.”
For most of the graduates, the hands-on experiences in Texas and abroad are what led to the greatest learning.
“TALL XII was a journey that I will never forget and gave me a much better understanding of not just agriculture and related issues, but also how people with different backgrounds can work together to make the world a better place, “ said Mike Metzig of Ropesville.
Cassie Schulte of Canyon agreed.
“TALL is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Schulte. “It provides participants the chance to gain knowledge about the diversity of agriculture within Texas, across the U.S. and around the world, while exposing them to state and national political processes.”
Along with Schulte, Foerster and Metzig, the graduates and their hometowns are:
Linda Ryan, Austin; Marsha Moss Shoemaker, Bellvue; Klint Forbes, Brownfield; Darren Turley, Dublin; Amanda Dyer, Fort Davis; Bruce Fleming, Friona; Ilona Schilderink, Hart; David Waggoner, Hillsboro; Michael Goudeau, Hungerford; Kip Thompson, Johnson City; Scott Taylor, Katy; Garry Merritt, Leakey; Amber Miller, Jim Hunt and Scott Piercy, all of Lubbock; Mark Kubecka, Palacios; Kimberly Ratcliff, Oakwood; Jose Luis Garza, Rio Grande City; Ernest Bailes IV, Shepherd; Darren Rozell, Tyler; Jason Pooley, Wilmington, N.C.; James Schulz, Wharton; Dave Lilley, Wichita Falls.