McKee, V. L., Odom, S. F., Moore, L. L. & Murphrey, T. P. (2016). Impacts of an agricultural leadership extension program for county officials. Journal of Agricultural Education, 57(4), 202-216. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2016.04202
Agricultural leadership extension programs aim to expand the horizons of leaders through study and experiences. These programs can have direct implications for communities when they are designed and delivered for county officials. This study specifically examined a leadership program administered in Texas which has graduated five classes of county commissioners and judges over the past decade, boasting 54 alumni. Given that the program had not been evaluated, this study used qualitative methodology to determine the program’s impacts on community leaders. Eleven program graduates were interviewed as well as asked to provide artifacts representing impacts of the program. Categories emerged from the data and were identified as: affective impacts, behavioral impacts, and cognitive impacts. Data revealed that the social networks and relationships participants gained was an overarching outcome of the program as these influenced the affective, behavioral, and cognitive impacts of the program. Several recommendations for further research, program modifications, and community leadership opportunities resulted from the study. Findings provide insight for those seeking to improve programming for agricultural leadership extension programs.