He could have stayed in DeKalb County and tended to his cattle, but Clint McElmoyl decided to improve himself, his county and Alabama agriculture by joining the Agricultural Leaders For Alabama (A.L.F.A.) class in 2012.
“If you don’t apply, you’ll miss the greatest opportunities to better yourself,” he said. “Of all the things I’ve done it’s one of the best things that has benefited me both personally and professionally.”
A.L.F.A. Leaders, sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation, is seeking applicants for its fourth class. Applicants must be between the ages of 25 and 45, Federation members and recommended by their Federation county presidents.
Federation Young Farmers Director Jennifer Himburg said the class is structured to help accommodate farmers’ schedules.
“A.L.F.A. Leaders is about molding our state and organization’s leaders for today, but it’s also preparing them for service tomorrow,” she said. “We realize that time spent away from the farm or office is a sacrifice, but we’re certain that participating in this class is an investment in your future.”
Participants will learn about local, state and national government; gain a deeper understanding of the Federation and Alfa Insurance; develop a basic understanding of Alabama’s major commodities; and learn to communicate and lead effectively.
Himburg said the class would meet six times. Members who attend at least 85 percent of the first four meetings will qualify for an out-of-state experience and a seminar on national politics in Washington, D.C., at the end of the two-year program.
McElmoyl, who is Auburn University’s Sand Mountain Research and Extension Center associate director, said along with learning about himself and how to manage others, the Washington, D.C., class trip was eye-opening.
“You have an idea of what you think goes on in D.C., but I didn’t realize how much it mattered before we went up there,” he said. “I may not get a chance to see my congressman every week or month, but I got to see how Congress works and how large of an impact his work does for our area.”
Applications are due March 15, 2016, and finalists will be selected by April 1. The program beings June 28, 2016, and graduation is planned for summer at the 2018 Federation Commodity Producers Conference.