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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Applications available for OALP Class XVIII

STILLWATER, Okla. – For more than 30 years, the Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Program has been helping those engaged in the agricultural industry to enhance their leadership skills.

“OALP is recognized as one of Oklahoma’s top leadership programs for emerging agricultural leaders,” said Edmond Bonjour, OALP director. “Our program is continuing to grow and produce well-educated leaders for the agricultural industry in our state. We just graduated OALP Class XVII and I’m now turning my sights toward Class XVIII and a new group of eager learners.”

Applications are now available for Class XVIII at The deadline for submitting an application and letters of reference is May 1. The class size is limited to 30 participants ages 25 and up who are actively engaged in agriculture or a related agricultural business.

Since its inception in 1982, OALP has grown to 475 alumni. The program offers class members new and exciting opportunities within Oklahoma and beyond.

“Agriculture is the backbone of our state, so with that in mind, OALP’s overall objective is to further develop emerging leaders for Oklahoma, especially in the field of agriculture,” Bonjour said. “We develop our leaders through a series of seminars and study tours. We also expose participants to cutting-edge changes that are occurring in the agriculture industry and agri-business not only in Oklahoma, but around the world.”

The 20-month program consists of 10 three-day seminars and study tours within Oklahoma, one three-day seminar in northern Oklahoma and Kansas, a seven- to eight-day seminar in Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., and a two-week international experience near the end of the program. The first seminar for OALP Class XVIII will take place August 2016.

Seminars within the state are geared toward wind energy, dryland farming, animal processing and feedlots in northwest Oklahoma; cotton, irrigation and vegetable production in the southwest; fish farming, sod farms and both the poultry and forestry industries in the southeast part of the state; and soy beans, mushroom farming and water navigation systems in northeast Oklahoma.

While in Kansas the group visits John Deere facilities, the Federal Reserve in Kansas City and the oil refinery at Hutchinson. 

“During our trip to Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., class members learn about how farming used to be done and how it’s still being done in Amish communities,” Bonjour said. “We also visit Hershey, Pennsylvania, and learn about all the different agricultural products that go into chocolate production. In Washington, D.C., we meet with our Oklahoma congressional delegation and various commodity groups.”

Throughout the entire program, class members will have the opportunity to interact with knowledgeable individuals who fill prominent leadership roles at the local, state, regional, national and international levels.

Susan Murray, a member of OALP Class XVII, said her participation in the program was a truly amazing experience. 

“OALP has allowed me to build upon my knowledge of Oklahoma agriculture, including areas of economics, education, culture, food and farming,” Murray said. “While working alongside many of our state’s most influential leaders, I have strengthened my leadership skills and grown in my career, as well as made connections that will last a lifetime.”

Bonjour said OALP is comprised of three basic objectives.

“First, the program is designed to help potential leaders develop a deeper and fuller appreciation of people,” he said. “While new members begin the program with some leadership skills, they complete the class with an even broader understanding and appreciation of people throughout the United States and the world.”

The second objective of the program is designed to help potential leaders develop a better understanding of basic systems of economics and government. Many of the opportunities and problems facing agriculture today are economic in nature. In addition, many of the solutions to economic problems and economic opportunities exist beyond the borders of Oklahoma and beyond the boundaries of the United States.

The third objective is to help OALP participants utilize their understanding of people and their knowledge of systems of economics and government to solve problems and exploit opportunities for the state’s agricultural industry.

OALP Class XVII recently returned from a two-week trip to Vietnam and the Philippines.

“Our goal with the international trip is to put together a good agricultural experience and visit countries previous OALP classes haven’t toured,” Bonjour said. “We also plan our trips to places where it’s safe to go.”

For more information about OALP, please call Bonjour at 405-744-8134, email at or visit the OALP website.


Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures.  This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; phone 405-744-5371; email: has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity. Any person (student, faculty, or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.

Trisha Gedon
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
Oklahoma State University
136 Agriculture North
Stillwater, OK  74078
405-744-3625 (phone)
405-744-5739 (fax)

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078