The Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (AALP) recently met in Belleville, ON, to continue their hands-on training with notable, regional agricultural professionals.
The two-day course kicked off on November 24th with a welcome from Lou Rinaldi, Member of Provincial Parliament in nearby Northumberland-Quinte West. The 18 leaders in training then refined their presentation skills and connected as a group on a more personal level by each presenting on a topic that they all are experts on: themselves.
To commence the first full day of the seminar, AALP participants and partners received results of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators survey that had been completed previously, revealing their specific personality style. The session was facilitated by Larry Van De Valk, Executive Director of LEAD New York. Larry enlightened the group as to how their individual preferences all added up to their individual personality style. These learnings will be used to better understand themselves, but also their partners and other members of the group.
In the afternoon, the group toured two agribusinesses in the surrounding area with a focus on value adds. The group headed to Tweed, ON, to meet with the owners of Enright Cattle Company, Kara and Darold Enright. Enright Cattle Company is a Simmental cow-calf finishing operation which took a new route in 2010. Over the past seven years they have operated with an increased focus on sustainability and traceability to track and analyze individual animal profitability from start to finish, while providing consumers with high-quality meats and leather goods.
The group then departed for the Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC) in Northumberland County and met with Joe Mullin, Operations Manager to learn how the Centre is helping producers and food entrepreneurs add value to their operations. As a not-for-profit, small-batch food-processing facility with a full-service commercial kitchen and various processing lines, the OAFVC is facilitating new lines of business and in some cases even transforming their clients’ business plans all the while meeting their goal of supporting and advancing a sustainable, regional local-food economy.
That evening the AALP participants were joined for dinner by Bruce VandenBerg, President of Mariposa Dairy and AALP Class 6 graduate. His story detailed the operations of Mariposa Dairy and their fascinating history and slow but steady climb to success, plans for the future and insights as to the current landscape of the dairy goat industry.
On the final morning, the group met with Bronwynne Wilton, Principal at Wilton Consulting, to better determine their role in their assigned Issues Analysis Project so that they may best serve their clients. Organizations which are participating in the Issues Analysis Project are: Trillium Mutual Insurance Company; AgScape; Rural Ontario Municipal Association; 4-H Ontario; Veritas Business Management; and the Rural Ontario Institute.
AALP Class 17 will continue until March 2019, with participants learning about leadership and organizational development theories and practices, government and political processes, economics, trade policy, global affairs, sector and industry-related issues in Ontario and globally through North American and international study travel components.