John J. McHugh, Jr.
Harry S. Cambra
* Participant did not complete all program requirements.
The thing I got most value from ALFH seminars is the ability I gained to improve my participation in meetings. This includes all types of meetings from work-related planning sessions to staff meetings, community meetings such as Farm Bureau or 4-H, it made a difference. Whether I am a participant, facilitator or running the meeting I have made great strides in listening, legitimizing, expressing my views and coming up with a plan or solution. It has changed my ideas/views on topics and I have been less critical of people. I tend to judge them less on a personal basis and try very hard to grasp their point of view.
Hawai‘i agriculture faces many challenges, but none as threatening as our inability to organize into a cohesive force and single voice. The Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawaii’s 18-month training program gives industry and community leaders the necessary tools to facilitate public meetings and bring people together on important issues that affect all members of their communities. During the course of the program, class members experience a comprehensive tour of Hawaii’s agricultural enterprises gaining insight into the challenges and opportunities faced daily by agricultural producers on all islands. This wide-ranging exposure to Hawaiian agriculture and the subsequent industry perspective is only available to those fortunate enough to be selected for this incredible program. If you are a farmer, rancher, landscaper, or agricultural business person; the best investment you will ever make is the time you spend as a student in the Agricultural Leadership Program.
The value of my experience in Ag Leadership training has been in broadening my exposure and experience in agriculture in Hawaii and the U.S. The National Trip was especially useful in understanding the work and impact of our Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C. Interacting with our host colleagues on the state visit (North Carolina) was illuminating and enriching. The session devoted to strategic planning was especially helpful as a practical learning experience for leading meetings but, more importantly, as a vehicle for honing my leadership skills.
I have both a broader and deeper understanding of current agriculture and the people farming, ranching, and improving their communities because of this program. I have a stronger network of friends and contacts that help me do my job better because I can ask questions of people who have practical experience trying to solve similar problems. I have seen and spoken with a greater diversity of people working their fields, farms, nurseries, orchards, and improving their communities and those that provide Hawaii’s agricultural and community entrepreneurs services and goods. The value of this program to my job is worth many times the time and dollars it costs to be a participant.