To meet the future challenges in agriculture, the Governor Dolph Briscoe Jr. Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership, TALL, program is seeking applicants for its new year, which begins July 1.
TALL is a two-year leadership program managed by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Applications for the new cohort, Class XIX, are due March 15.
“The agriculture industry constantly faces new and unique challenges, and there is a need for individuals who have leadership potential to serve in decision-making positions,” said Jim Mazurkiewicz, Ph.D., program director and professor in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications, Bryan-College Station. “TALL graduates provide a new pool of proven leaders that can provide the leadership, insight, knowledge and direction to ensure that agriculture is viable in the future.”
TALL adds perspective, molds agricultural leaders
The program invests 500 hours of intensive training per person through seminars, speakers and domestic and international study trips over two years, Mazurkiewicz said. It’s equivalent to the time spent obtaining a master’s degree in agriculture, he said. The typical class size is about 24, and participation cost is $3,000. The TALL XIX International session will be held in 2026 in Brussels, Belgium and Spain.
“The mission of the program is to create a cadre of Texas leaders to ensure effective understanding and encourage positive action on key issues, theories, policy and economics that will advance the agriculture industry,” Mazurkiewicz said.
Participants include traditional crop producers, ranchers, bankers and attorneys, as well as those who work in lumber, food processing, agricultural corporations, agriculture service and horticultural industries, he said. Cohort members find their experiences to be eye-opening and applicable to their professions and businesses.
“I was able to see things that I never experienced in my career,” said Tanya Foerster, Capital Farm Credit director of advertising and communications, Lubbock, and former TALL alumni president. “I was able to see the timber industry and aquaculture industry up close. I grew up on a cattle ranch in northeastern New Mexico, so all of it was eye opening for me.”
Foerster also benefited from the networking opportunity within the agriculture industry. She said she has been able to utilize the relationships she has developed in TALL in her career work.
“It’s just a neat way to bring agriculture together,” she said.
Matt Moore, a farmer and cow-calf producer in Shamrock and a former TALL cohort member, said he encourages those seeking leadership opportunities to not hesitate and apply to the program.
“I had some friends that had been in the program and kept prodding me to apply,” Moore said. “I was very glad I finally did. We went to Russia and to Poland. In Poland, we did a home stay, and that was one of the favorite things everyone in the class enjoyed. That led to a young leaders exchange between Texas and Poland. Networking and building good business relationships as well as friendships. If you think you are too busy, apply. The ideal candidates for this program are the ones who think they are too busy.”
For more information about the program, visit https://tall.tamu.edu.