Residents of Lewisville and El Dorado are among 26 Arkansans who recently graduated from LeadAR.

LeadAr is the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s leadership program, bringing the total number of graduates to nearly 500 in the past 35 years.

Among the graduates were Ethan Dunbar, Lewisville mayor; Tyler McDonald, T&R Farms co-owner, Lewisville; and Chris Wasson, El Dorado, Entergy Arkansas customer service representative.

The group members, who represent 15 Arkansas counties, spent nearly two years developing their leadership skills and gaining a better understanding of key economic and social issues facing Arkansas. They celebrated completion of the 22-month program at a ceremony November 15 in Little Rock.

Since 1984, the Division of Agriculture has worked to bring together rural and urban leaders to learn from each other through the LeadAR program, as well as help them grasp the importance of agriculture to Arkansas’ economy.

“Our goal is to equip emerging leaders in the state with knowledge and skills they need to make a difference in their organizations and their communities,” said Stacy McCullough, assistant director for community, professional and economic development for the Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service. “We want rural and urban leaders of Arkansas to work together to positively impact the state.”

Throughout the program, participants attend three-day seminars about every eight weeks, meet some of the state’s top industry leaders, practice their policy-making skills, tour communities throughout the state and visit with congressional leaders in Washington, D.C. The program culminates with an international study tour, to learn how international issues and policy impact Arkansas and to see the world from a different perspective. Each of the program’s 18 classes have visited a different country — Class 18 toured Belgium and Netherlands.

Applications for the next LeadAR class open in January.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the program.

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