On Feb. 1, the SDARL alumni group met with their Florida counterparts at The Cowpokes Watering Hole in Sebring, FL. The Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources develops and refines the leadership capabilities of leaders in Florida agriculture and natural resources.
About 30 of their members shared stories with the South Dakota group about their experiences and how they fit into Florida’s agriculture industry. Several were instrumental in helping with the tour, including Ray Royce who spent the day riding with us and explained parts of the industry that were unfamiliar. Several gave an overview of the losses they suffered from the hurricanes that pummeled the ag industry. Initial assessments indicated $2.5 billion in agricultural damages to the state.
In 2014, Class 8 of WLI came to visit South Dakota. They learned about the operation of Jon and Cathy Nelson at Lake Preston and continued their tour west where they visited Bill and Penny Slovek at Philip who were devastated by losses from Storm Atlas, an early October blizzard that killed thousands of cattle. Some of the class members were at the supper because they’d been to our state.
Traveling with this group of people reminds one of how lucky we are in South Dakota, especially those who have gone through the SDARL experience. The hard-working, dedicated and caring men and women are exceptional. Although our group was small, the opportunity to share and learn from others makes our travel a unique learning experience. A huge thank you to Dr. Hannah Carter for working so diligently to contact all of the people who met with us during the Ag portion of the tour.
The final part of the Graduate Experience trip to Florida included a visit to the Kennedy Space Center. We learned of the successes of the space shuttle program and the future of international space travel, which includes landing astronauts on an asteroid and on Mars. What trip to Florida would be complete without a stop at Walt Disney World? It was a great week!
It was an educational and inspirational trip to the Kennedy Space Center, which included seeing the space shuttle Atlantis, and lunch with two-time shuttle astronaut Winston Scott.