In an effort to strengthen the Washington farm workforce and encourage people to seek jobs and in ag labor, and stay in ag labor, the state recently rolled out a new program designed to improve managers.  Ofelio Borges with the Washington State Department of Agriculture said currently many of the people in supervisory roles were not given the leadership training needed to ensure workers are treated properly, allowing them to be productive and successful.  That’s where the Agricultural Leadership Program steps in, a three month in person and on-line effort.

He noted that when managers are true leaders the work environment will change for the farm worker community.

“We want people to be inspiring their workforce, finding ways to get their workforce involved, engaged, so that they get motivated so they get invited to stay and find ways to improve.  This is what’s missing right now.”

Borges stressed the Agricultural Leadership Program, is a leadership course, not a management course.  Jacqui Gordon with the Washington State Tree Fruit Association noted the amount of support they have received from industry shows the need for this program.

“We have sponsors, we have private companies that reached out to us, we have Washington State University, Heritage University, Labor & Industries, the Washington Farm Bureau, GS Long, Oxarc, Washington Fruit, we have many, many partners and sponsors that want to see this program succeed and become an experiment in the industry.”

The Program is offered in both English and Spanish.  The Agricultural Leadership Program started in early May, with the first graduation slated for next month.  To learn more about the Program, or if you have questions answered, E-mail Gordon.

If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-1618, or e-mail glenn.vaagen@townsquaremedia.com