It is hard to believe that in our roughly 26 hours our MARL class went from acquaintances to peers and friends. We shared stories, a joke or two and many laughs all while learning more about how our communities function. One thing that is apparent is that in order for any community to function it takes leaders. Leaders who can organize, leaders who can manage projects, leaders who are good at outreach, and leaders who can teach others to grow.

One important step in creating leaders is identifying, training and targeting individuals who have a desire to be a part of something greater than themselves and develop specific goals and opportunities for those individuals to prosper. Paul Hansen, Leader Development Manager for Land O’ Lakes discussed with our class ways to engage people to become advocates, strategic thinkers, communicators, and collaborators. Land O’ Lakes has a specific program designed to coach and mentor member owners and growers to engage in various leadership roles. The program is designed to help interested individuals start by being engaged as members, then leaders, and help create diversity within their corporate structure.

Our seminar concluded with the discussion and presentation of our capstone project. This project is meant to build on leadership skills that we can target towards a project in an area that is of interest to us. These projects will be presented and shared at our final seminar June 22-23rd 2022.

Steven Marsh, current MARL class member invited the group to his family farm in Gonvick, MN where they grow wild rice and soybeans. The majority of the class was able to stop by and tour the farm and experience wild rice in Minnesota.

Submitted by Brittany Ullrich


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