Agricultural Leadership Development: Insights And Experiences From Canada
In Canada, agriculture and its related industries are undergoing rapid and significant changes. Among the many issues facing farmers and other agri-business people are the development of biotechnologies, the decline of on-farm and rural populations, the emergence of new public policies, concerns over food safety, globalisation of markets, sensitivity to environmental issues, and the influence of regional and global trade agreements. Given the complexity of these issues, and the distinctiveness of various regions, sectors and commodities produced in Canada, there is a need for national agricultural leaders who understand the issues, and have the skills and networks to construct effective responses to those issues.
The Canadian Farm Business Management Council has supported the development and pilot testing of a national leadership development program known as Canadian Agriculture Lifetime Leadership (CALL). CALL is a two-year program that selects men and women with demonstrated leadership potential and commitment to the agricultural industry, and provides those men and women with an opportunity to become more effective leaders. In addition to CALL, Ontario and New Brunswick have provincial leadership development programs targeted to agriculture. This paper introduces the context of agricultural leadership development programs in Canada. It then provides a short review of the CALL program and its provincial counterpart in Ontario. Based on this review, and on the perspectives provided by program graduates, a vision for the future of agricultural leadership programs in Canada is presented.