The Kentucky Agricultural Leadership Program has selected 22 individuals for its 13th class — including one Christian County farmer.

Bradley Loftus, an agronomist with Wheat Tech Agronomy, will represent Christian County.

“I feel a mix of nervousness and excitement,” Loftus said. “I look forward to the leadership skills I will learn. My wife has been saying this will help me come out of my shell.”

Housed in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, the program offers an intensive, leadership development experience for young farmers and individuals in agriculture-related fields. Its mission is to identify, develop and motivate Kentuckians for effective leadership in agriculture and rural communities.

The program will consist of 10 domestic seminars that focus on improving each participant’s leadership skills. The participants will study emerging issues affecting Kentucky agriculture and rural communities. Class members will meet with local leaders, visit a variety of Kentucky agribusinesses, meet with policy makers and government agencies in Frankfort and Washington, D.C., and will travel to other states and nations to explore agriculture in different settings. The 35-year-old program has a network of over 300 alumni, most of whom are industry and community leaders.

“We are very excited that Class 13 encompasses the program’s goal of putting together a passionate group of individuals exhibiting geographic, gender, racial, farm size and age diversity,” said Will Snell, Co-director of the Leadership Development Program and UK Agricultural Economist.

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, is a program that is quite a challenge to get into as well as being selected. Loftus had to submit a seven page resume, find references all the while going through a series of interviews. Ninety three applicants were accepted but only twenty two were selected. “I’m very grateful to represent Christian County. Now that everyone has been chosen, I feel very relieved and thankful. Over the next two years, there will be roughly fifty seminars I will attend. I know there will be so much knowledge I will gain. I look forward to it,” said Loftus.

Sessions for the new cohorts will begin in February 2022 with an anticipated graduation celebration scheduled for August 2023. The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment reaches across the commonwealth with teaching, researching and extension to enhance the lives of Kentuckians. Class 13 will have the chance to not only learn and grow from each seminar but plant the good seeds of knowledge and reap plentiful harvest each year.

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