KARL Program

Program Overview

The Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership (KARL) program is a two-year course offering intensive study, training and travel for leaders in Kansas agriculture and rural communities. Each class is composed of up to 30 individuals who will be either actively involved as operators of production agriculture or from agribusiness, related organizations, and rural community leadership roles. Class members are predominately between the ages of 25 and 55 and have demonstrated leadership ability.

A variety of challenges—environmental, economic and political—are unfolding and will continue to test agriculture, agribusiness and rural communities. Strong, progressive leaders, with a broad base of knowledge, will be necessary to help guide communities and industry as decisions are made. KARL empowers leaders to help ensure a bright future for Kansas.

KARL Applications can be downloaded in PDF here.pdf or as a word document here.docx

The two-year program includes nine in-state seminars, one Blue Chip seminar, a National Study tour to Washington DC, and an International Study tour to one or more countries. Seminars are in three-day segments, usually noon Wednesday through noon Friday, from November through February.

Each session class members are assigned to document a day during the session. This documentation can be found by clicking the session name.


Genesis Session – Rock Springs 4-H Camp
• Group Dynamic Skills
• Leadership – Skills, Styles, Perils and Team Building
• Ethics in Leadership

Economic Development – Garden City
• Macro View of the Economy
• Community Management
• Value-Added Agricultural Products
• Beef and Other Industry Instructional Tours

Personal Development – Norton
• Image and Personal Brand Building
• Discussion and Extemporaneous Speaking Skills
• Writing and Media Workshops
• Public Service

State of the State – Topeka
• Understanding and Working with the Kansas Legislature
• Regulation of Agriculture
• Media and Other Influence in Policy

Conflict Management and National Service – Leavenworth and Washington, D.C. 
Leavenworth – Conflict Management 
• International Cyber Security
• State Prison Systems
• Fort Leavenworth and the General Staff College
• Juvenile Intervention
Washington, D.C. – National Service
• U.S. Congressional Delegation
• U.S. Trade and Commodity Representations
• Federal Agencies
• Interest Group Visits


Blue Chip – Location TBD
• Corporate Management
• Corporation Leadership in Employee Culture and Community Footprint
• Investment in Workforce

Adapting to Change – Pittsburg
• Technology Education at Pittsburg State University
• Mining and Land Reclamation
• Environmental Issues Due to Human Practices

Creating Our Future – Greensburg
• Building Green and Bringing Technology to Rural Kansas
• Crisis Management
• Leading Through Adversity

Global Leadership – Wichita 
• Aviation’s Impact
• Tour of Cargill
• Education and Leadership
• KARL in the Classroom

International Study Seminar – Cuba 
• Trade relationships
• Comparative Agriculture
• Domestic and Foreign Policy
• Culture, Customs, and Politics

The Power of One – Location TBD
• International Seminar Debriefing
• Leadership Challenge
• Graduation


Candidate Qualities

If you are committed to Kansas agriculture and rural communities and their relationship to local, national and international issues, you can apply for our two-year program offered every odd-numbered year. Each applicant must be a citizen of the U.S. and a resident of the state of Kansas for at least one year at the time of application, with no more than one family member accepted into any one class. Candidates must have a current record of demonstrated leadership as an adult in organizations or their community.


Candidate Selection

Each class is composed of up to 30 individuals involved as operators of production agriculture, from support industries, and/or involved in rural community leadership positions. Self-employed applicants must offer evidence that time away for study tours and seminars will not adversely affect their business or operation. Those who are not self-employed must have the approval of their employers.

A selection committee will review applications and schedule interviews with the top candidates in their areas. Candidates must be available for a regional interview during the first full week of May in odd-numbered years. The class, a representative cross-section of Kansas, is selected in a joint meeting of the Board by the end of May.

Candidate Expectations

The value of the KARL Program experience is over $26,000 per participant.  Accepted candidates are expected to actively participate in every session of the two-year program. The participant tuition fee is only $2,500 per year, for the two-year program.  Payment as follows: A non-refundable deposit of $500 is due after class membership notification, prior to May 28 with registration; $2,000 due by August 1; the balance of $2,500 is due by August 1 of the second year.  Due to a fellowship investment by donors to cover the remaining $21,000 per participant, accepted candidates are expected to actively participate in every session of the two-year program.  Room, board, and transportation during each seminar (including the national and international tours) are covered by this support.  Cost of transportation to and from each seminar is the responsibility of the participant as are incidental expenses and free time food, etc., during the national and international tours.  Regional carpooling is encouraged to reduce the commuting costs.

Seminars are in three-day segments, usually noon Wednesday through noon Friday, from November through February. The national and international seminars are one week and 12 -14 days, respectively, and are held in March.

APPLICATIONS FOR CLASS XIV are now closed. We continually accept nominations for the next class. If you are interested or know someone would be a good candidate please let us know sending an email to karl@ksu.edu. and we will add them to our database.