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About the Program

The California Agricultural Leadership Program (CALP) grows leaders who make a difference.

Our premier leadership development program – highly respected and the longest-running of its kind – teaches fellows leadership skills that help them expand their impact, increase their leadership capacity and tackle complex challenges.

Through our exceptional curriculum, fellows become lifelong leaders who individually and collectively act as a catalyst for a vibrant agricultural community and make a significant difference in the agricultural industry, their businesses, communities and families.

Focus on Emerging Leaders
For more than 50 years, CALP has provided an advanced leadership development experience for emerging, mid-career agricultural leaders. All of our fellows come to the program with great leadership potential. The program provides tools to increase their self-awareness and set them on a path toward greater influence and leadership impact.

First Step Toward Lifelong Learning
Over the course of an intensive 17-month program, fellows are immersed in numerous topics, including leadership theory, effective communication, motivation, critical thinking, change management, emotional intelligence and other skills and tools that contribute to improved performance. Fellows engage in situations and discussions focused on complex social and cultural issues, providing them with an opportunity to build enhanced critical thinking skills that, combined with a broader perspective, help graduates guide creative solutions throughout their lives.

In addition, individualized executive coaching and personal assessment instruments provide focus on fellows’ strengths and areas for growth through the development of goals and strategies for improvement.

A Life-Changing Experience
Four exceptional partner universities – Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Fresno State and UC Davis – deliver comprehensive, diverse and high-impact curriculum at the seminars. Fellows learn from first-rate educators, subject authorities and individuals from diverse professions and backgrounds. During the 17-month program, ongoing interaction with core faculty and peers shapes the individual experience and intentionally introduces fellows to some unfamiliar, and at times uncomfortable, situations. As a result, fellows develop a close camaraderie, learn to approach issues with an open and critical mind and enhance their ability to listen and learn from others.

National and international seminars provide further opportunities to use critical thinking to work through complex issues, understand interconnected systems and governments, gain confidence in how to engage in various processes, compare and contrast cultural dynamics, immerse oneself in different cultures and dialogue with policy leaders.

Travel seminars

“The California Agricultural Leadership Program is all about facilitating self-knowledge and exposure to new perspectives.”

-Former CALF Co-Director of Education Dr. Peggy Perry (Class 9)

Leadership from the Inside Out
Through a balance of dynamic classroom presentations, case studies, experiential learning opportunities, individualized coaching and selected readings, fellows acquire tools to enhance their leadership skills and contribute to the long-term success of their farms, ranches, nurseries, allied businesses and organizations. Having the confidence to step up and engage diverse groups in discussions about critical issues is one of many outputs of the Ag Leadership Program.

For more information about what to expect as a fellow and our philosophy of teaching leadership from the inside out, take a look at the frequently asked questions under the resources/quicklinks section on this page.

Strengthening California and Sustainably Supplying the World
Program graduates are part of an influential group of agricultural professionals who are effectively tackling challenging issues and opportunities faced by their families, businesses and communities. Many are actively engaged in leadership that is positively impacting California agriculture on a local, statewide, national and global scale.

As one of the over 1,300 alumni – growers, farmers, ranchers and other individuals working in allied businesses – fellows become part of a powerful network that serves to keep agriculture a viable and important part of our state’s economy.

Learning Focus at Partner Universities:

Monthly seminars rotate between our four partner universities. With a different focus at each university, the seminars provide an integrated and comprehensive curriculum. Many of these themes and topics are threaded and reinforced throughout the program across various seminars.

Team building and communication skills.

Experience team building exercises that provide opportunities to challenge themselves and each other, while also learning about key elements of how to work in teams.

Receive practical training in communications – delivering different types of speeches, serving as a presiding fellow and facilitating meetings. Feedback from coaches and fellows strengthens the experience.

Learn about motivational theory and how it can be used to influence the performance of individuals and teams.

Learn the importance of listening as a tool to enhance communication.

Through experiential exercises, learn how to communicate with others who don’t think or believe the same way.

Social and cultural issues, power and change.

Explore social and cultural issues, particularly those relating to urban, minority and marginalized populations.

Experience different cultures and world views through site visits and personal interactions.

Learn more about cross-cultural communication and behavior through seminars and simulation.

Engage in experiential learning about different religions and cultures.

Emotional intelligence, criminology and national leadership issues.

Develop enhanced critical thinking skills while examining the issues of criminology and the death penalty as well as drilling in on the deeper issues of sociology, neuroscience and early childhood development.

Gain a deeper understanding of the founding principles of the United States in preparation for the national travel seminar.

Managing conflict through effective communication, power and privilege, community leadership.

Adopt and practice crucial conversation skills and develop self-awareness in managing conflict.

Engage in curriculum focused on building awareness about power and privilege, including how we get it, how we use it, why understanding it is important to our leadership growth and how it can be used to positively influence people, situations and change.

Learn how to better engage in the political process by developing a more thorough understanding of the state legislative process.

Explore the value of servant leadership via up-close examination of Sacramento-area service programs.