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NDSU Extension’s Rural Leadership North Dakota (RLND) Program began in 2003 to develop agricultural and community leaders. One hundred fifty-nine people from 87 communities in 41 counties have participated.

Group photo of NDSU Extension professional associated with the program, "Rural Leadership North Dakota"This 18-month program allows participants to attend seven in-state workshops with agricultural and community businesses tours; a regional seminar and a national seminar to meet with agricultural, business and government leaders; and an international study tour to learn about global agricultural policies and rural development.

The program helps participants enhance leadership skills, such as thinking critically, communicating effectively, strategic planning, and managing conflict. Participants learn about policy trends that could affect North Dakota, finding ways to fund regional development projects, the value of partnerships, and agricultural and community advocacy.

Program participants then use the skills they have learned to implement a project that benefits their organization, community or region. For example:

  • Watford City gained a community playground and multifamily housing units.
  • Dawson is attracting tourists with a visitor center/museum of the area’s history.
  • Hannaford’s old elementary school became a multipurpose building with a library, fitness center, craft room, technology center, and space for start-up businesses and community events.

“RLND allowed me to expand my network of leaders throughout the state of North Dakota,” says Anthony Larson, Adams County commissioner. “It caused me to engage and commit to leadership roles at a higher level than previously. My experiences in the RLND program have allowed me to gain confidence and be more effective as a leader on local, regional and national boards.”

Read more Community Development Extension Impact Stories.