February 16, 2022
By Laura Wormuth

The University of Maryland Extension (UME) Signature Program, LEAD Maryland, welcomed its newest class of professionals, selected to develop leadership and skills to better serve and support the agricultural, natural resources, and rural sectors.

LEAD Class XII consists of 25 Fellowship recipients who are participating in the two-year program that teaches problem solving, communication, leadership skills, and public issues education related to public policy, resources, and opportunities. LEAD Fellows come from all over the state and from diverse backgrounds including rural and urban farmers, communications specialists, business owners, conservation technicians, organization managers, and more. 

During the two year term of the Fellowship, the class will participate in a series of nine multi-day seminars and an international study experience, focused on affecting public policy, identifying resources, engaging and educating others, and becoming leaders within their communities, in rural Maryland, and within the agriculture industry.

“We are very excited to be working with this class. When the Fellows gathered for their first seminar last week, and we learned more about each person, it really impressed upon me what a strong and capable group this is—capable to do anything they might put their minds to doing,” said LEAD Maryland Foundation Executive Director Susan Harrison. “Each person brings experiences, knowledge, resources, and a passion for their work and communities to the class. Their collective strength will allow them to serve and solve problems through leadership. The LEAD experience will help them grow as leaders and to discover many new people, places, and ideas. They are already learning from conversations with each other.”

The Fellowship Program is provided through UME and the LEAD Maryland Foundation, which is supported in part by the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, the Rural Maryland Council through the Maryland Agricultural Education & Rural Development Assistance Fund (MAERDAF), MidAtlantic Farm Credit, Maryland Farm Bureau, Maryland Soybean Board, Maryland Department of Agriculture, the Campbell Foundation, the Northeast Agricultural Education Foundation (NAEF), the Maryland Nursery, Landscape and Greenhouse Association (MNLGA), Choptank Electric Trust, the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation (MAEF), and support from other organizations and individuals.

To learn more about the LEAD Maryland Fellowship program, volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, and to find a full list of the Class XII participants, go to www.leadmaryland.org.