By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau: If you're Project CENTRL alum, you need to get on the telephone and tell your family and friends that applications for the new rural leadership class are due March 1. You know how much you got out of the program, it's time to tell others! Arizona agriculture needs to make sure our farm and ranch leaders continue to participate in this worthy program.

Rural Leadership Program Applications Due March 1st  

Project CENTRL, Arizona’s Center for Rural Leadership, is now accepting applications for Class 24.  Rural leaders, farmers, ranchers, and individuals working in businesses that serve agriculture or rural Arizona who want to improve their leadership skills are encouraged to apply.   

Project CENTRL is a premier leadership development program with nearly 600 graduates since the first class started in 1983. Alumni are active community leaders and dedicated volunteers who share a common vision of making rural Arizona and agriculture more healthy, vibrant, and sustainable. The mission of Project CENTRL is to equip and empower leaders to meet the needs of rural Arizona. 

The one year program has six two-day seminars held every other month in Arizona and a six-day seminar in Washington D. C. The capstone to the program is a one-day session followed by graduation that evening.  The first two seminars improve leadership and communication skills and the next three address diverse topics, emerging issues and future challenges that face agriculture and rural Arizona.  The last two seminars apply the knowledge and skills gained at our state and national Capitols.   The Graduation and day time session will polish leadership skills and introduce participants into the CENTRL network of Arizona leaders.

Project CENTRL is a partnership between the non-profit Center for Rural Leadership and Arizona Cooperative Extension in the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Cooperative Extension. The costs for participants are underwritten with donations from alumni, sponsors, and other organizations. Applicants must be at least 25 years of age by the beginning of the program and a full time resident of Arizona. 

“Project CENTRL is all about cultivating leaders to be more responsive and effective in meeting the growing needs of rural Arizona,” said CENTRL Director Monica Pastor. “The program is a life changing experience that is making a difference in agriculture and rural Arizona.”   

Detailed program information and an application packet are available online at Additional information is available by calling the Project CENTRL office at 520.316.0909.  Applications are due on March 1, but candidates are encouraged to complete and submit earlier. 

For more information, contact Karen Vanderheyden at

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