CHESTERFIELD – The Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results program, the commonwealth’s premier agriculture-leadership training program, celebrated the graduation of its third class of leadership fellows at the Hotel Roanoke July 14.
The VALOR fellows, who engaged in a service project and professional development activities during the past two years, enjoyed an evening reception and dinner ceremony at the historic hotel and closed their fellowship experience with an alumni networking brunch. Each reminisced about experiences and knowledge gained throughout the program.
Ten graduating fellows included Christopher Mullins of South Chesterfield and Michelle Olgers, director of marketing and communications at Virginia State University.
The fellows’ backgrounds ranged from dairy, Angus beef and poultry farmers to agriculture marketing, communications and education specialists. In addition, the cohort included elected officials, organization presidents, and industry advocates, each bringing a unique background and interpretation of agriculture, industry, and need.
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 agricultural trade and communicating with others, urban agriculture and national agriculture policy, and team building and collaboration.
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.