Reynolds Gooden-Seay Chosen for VALOR Program
The Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results (VALOR) program, the commonwealth's premier agriculture-leadership training program, is housed at Virginia Tech within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. VALOR is a two-year training program that includes experiential travel, leadership discourse, and networking designed to prepare fellows to undertake leadership roles facilitating community problem-solving and promoting Virginia agriculture – communicating its realities, vigor, and needs – in forums in, and outside of, the industry.
VALOR is one of about 40 agricultural leadership programs active in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Agricultural leadership programs use a research-based experiential learning approach that builds professional leadership skills in the context of agriculture. In addition to on-the-ground agriculture, agricultural policy and communications are included in visits to the state and national capitals. An international experience crowns each VALOR program by couching Virginia agriculture in the context of world trade, cooperation, and global connectivity.
Fellows meet every other month for two years to train, network, and travel throughout Virginia’s nine distinct agricultural regions. Professional and personal development themes for these seminars include agriculture trade and communicating with others, urban agriculture and national agriculture policy, team building and collaboration, and communicating the industry, among others.
“Seminar content is a hybrid of ‘must keep’ content from previous years and new experiences unique for each class. As a result, our entire group of current and past VALOR fellows has a broader collective knowledge of the great diversity and impact represented by the many facets of Virginia agriculture,” said Seibel.
As they travel, VALOR fellows are hosted by agricultural leaders who illustrate regional realities, challenges, and innovations on their family farms, dairies, livestock and produce operations, urban greenhouses, crop fields, fishing boats, and forests.