KARL training ends on high point
A month after reaching the Andean mountaintop village of Patabamba, Peru, at 15,000 feet and Machu Picchu at 8,000 feet, a class of 30 agriculture leaders hit another milestone—graduation.
The Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership Class XI graduated April 20 in Salina. Kansas State University Provost and Senior Vice President April Mason charged the class to take their skills back to their communities and state in an effort to improve Kansas.
The final seminar for the class that day—The Power of One—was the conclusion of the two-year training experience that spanned the state, taking KARL class members to Washington, D.C., where they studied decision making on the national level, as well as to Peru for an international agriculture tour.
As part of the Salina session, class members elected Blake Angell, a cattle buyer from Ellis County, to the KARL board of directors. The class also gave individual testimonies on the impact of the program and their future goals as leaders in their communities and industry.
Over the two years, the class attended nine seminars, learning about current agriculture and rural topics and trends facing Kansas, including environmental, economic and political challenges. Class members also honed public speaking, analytical and writing skills. They met with Kansas agribusiness executives, heads of organizations, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, as well as the president of Fortune 500 company Monsanto.
“This Class XI group of 30 leaders was our 20th anniversary class and they met milestones throughout their two-year experience. Their greatest challenges as our latest graduates are yet to come as they proceed to represent and serve alongside of our past 300 participants. They are ready for that responsibility,” said Jack W. Lindquist, president and KARL program director.
Members of KARL Class XI include: Blake Angell, Ellis, Ellis County; Dan Atkisson, Stockton, Rooks County; Amy Bickel, Burrton, Harvey County; Debra Bolton, Garden City, Finney County; Jarrod Bowser, Circleville, Jackson County; Randall Debler, Alma, Wabaunsee County; Brandon Depenbusch, Great Bend, Barton County; Tyler Ediger, Meade, Meade County; Tanner Ehmke, Healy, Lane County; Andrea Feldkamp, Manhattan, Riley County; Mark Fowler, Manhattan, Riley County; Mandy Fox, Ulysses, Grant County; Natalie Gosch, Mulvane, Sedgwick County; Hannah Grape, Manhattan, Riley County; Liesel Grauberger, Concordia, Cloud County; Kris Graves, Bartlett, Labette County; Aaron Harries, Manhattan, Riley County; Kelsey Holste, Manhattan, Riley County; Michael Irvin, Manhattan, Riley County; Tricia Jantz, Newton, Harvey County; Todd Jennison, Scott City, Scott County; Paula Landoll-Smith, Marysville, Marshall County; Josh Morrill, Garnett, Anderson County; Joe Muller, Coffeyville, Labette County; Craig Poore, Alton, Osborne County; Jon Schmidt, Minneapolis, Ottawa County; Reid Shrauner, Elkhart, Morton County; Chris Tanner, Norton, Norton County; Luke Thornton, Anthony, Harper County; and Tyler VanWinkle, Manhattan, Riley County.
KARL was formed in 1990 when 20 individuals, representing nearly all segments of Kansas agriculture, met to discuss the need and potential for an extensive education program with a rural leadership focus.
The first class of 30 participants began their leadership development in 1991. More than 20 years later, the program has raised more than $4.5 million from 900 entities—including farmers, individuals, organizations and businesses—which has been invested in 330 rural leaders from all regions of Kansas.
“The KARL footprint now covers 99 of Kansas’ 105 counties and $620,000 was invested in the training of Class XI,” Lindquist told the class in Salina. “Simply put, 900 entities believed in these 30 new leaders enough to invest their hard-earned money in their training. Even our graduates donated $120,000 to the Class XI. That’s one-fifth of our budget and a reinvestment that anyone should be proud of.”
The KARL Program, which is a non-profit organization, has survived for 23 years on investments from individuals, businesses, organizations and foundations through contributions, Lindquist said, adding that it has not asked for or accepted tax-derived funding.
“We can be proud of that accomplishment,” Lindquist said to the new graduates. “Now get out there and get to work. We have a new Class XII group of 30 leaders to bring into the KARL family”.