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Class XIV Curriculum

Community Leadership and Broadening Our International Understanding

 Seminar XII

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 a.m.
Scribe: Lisa Blubaugh

We met at the Wes Watkins center at promptly 9:00 a.m.  We were anxious and excited to learn more about our upcoming international trip.  It is hard to believe that just 16 short months ago our class started this journey together in this very same, building. 

We were welcomed by Dr. Joe and were joined by the OCES for an In-Service seminar.  Dr. Joe talked to us about the importance of leadership and how important it will be to take what we have learned out of our class and bring it back to the rural communities.  Dr. Joe's presentation addressed healthy communities and how they are struggling and that there is little to no growth in rural Oklahoma. We also discussed how important a diverse economy, efficient infrastructure and good leadership are to rural communities.  A diverse and resilient economy consists of: Agriculture (wheat, grains and cattle), value-added (for example, the pizza dough factory in Alva), manufacturing, micro/home based businesses and recreation/tourism. An efficient infrastructure consists of roads, water and electricity, digital communications, families, healthcare and youth development. 

Our next speaker was Lara Brooks, Assistant Extension Specialists, OSU.  Lara talked about "Trends in Rural Oklahoma".  She explained the difference between metropolitan counties, micropolitan counties and frontier counties.  A metropolitan county has a core city of at least 50,000 persons, a micropolitan county has a core city of at least 10,000 persons and frontier counties have less than 6 persons per square mile.  A lot of frontier counties are farming counties.  Oklahoma's population is 36.3% non metropolitan population.  We also learned about pull factors or a number of percentage shoppers pulled to your area.  Pull factor counties usually have a Wal-Mart.  We also discussed cluster activities to include entrepreneurship and cultural changes.  Some of the positive outlooks for Oklahoma are oil prices are on the rise and our wheat production. 

We next listened to Dave Shideler, assistant professor, OSU about whether or not the economy will stall out in Oklahoma. He explained a policy briefing about the general economy and trade and how it impacts Oklahoma.  We discussed that there are some cautious optimism but it won't be back to "normal" for a long time.  Oklahoma's economy may get worse, but not as bad as the US, and it will likely get better sooner. Dave also told us that at the beginning of a recession the weak dollar is generally good for agriculture because agriculture is trade-dependent.  Macroeconomic uncertainty: increased need for effective risk management tools in agriculture.  We also discussed that nonfarm employment is essential and that most farm family income comes from off-farm. Some of the other topics that Dave touched on are that we import more than we export and that FHA is "running out of money" to secure loans.  Also, because of the stron dollar net exports are down.  Finally, in closing we were left with these thoughts:  consumers are changing their behavior and that our economy can not rely on retail sales as we have in the past to keep our economy going. 

Next we listened to Doug Enns, Senior applications engineer, OSU about growing rural Oklahoma.  He briefed us about the Applications Engineering Program and New Product Development.  The goal of this program is to create manufacturing jobs in rural Oklahoma.  Rural jobs- Ag and energy industry no longer require large labor forces.  Many rural communities are turning into ghost towns.  Manufacturing jobs on average pay more than service industry jobs ( $16.00 per hour is the average production wage in Oklahoma).  The program is in cooperation with the College of Engineering, OSU and the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance and the OSU college of Engineering Architecture and Technology.  They provide any engineering that manufacturers need, process, redesign and engineer designs, provide failure analysis, plant layout and facility design as well as product development (small scale) and product testing and redesign.  The NDPC uses university based research teams to assist in taking existing manufacturers ideas for new products from conception to production,, 

Mr. Charles Willoughby, manager business and client relations, OSU talked to us about the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center.  Oklahoma grows 3 billion agriculture products and sells that product at wholesale prices to out of state buyers. The FAPC staff provides information and conducts workshops to meet specific business needs and assistance in a variety of business and marketing areas, such as: Business plan development, market identification, product pricing and promotion, finance option evaluation, co-processor identification and state and federal regulation compliance.  The FACP processing facilities accommodate meat, cereals, fruits and vegetables, as well as specific unit operations for thermal processing, drying, freezing, packaging, milling and fermentation.  The technical faculty and staff, with experience in university and industry settings, can assist food companies and entrepreneurs with projects including compliance with USDA regulations, process optimization, and product development or improvement, 

Our last speaker before lunch was Dr. Brian Whitacre, assistant professor, OSU.  Dr. Whitacre enlightened us about E-Commerce and what it means for rural communities.  What is e-commerce?  It is the buying and selling items over the internet.   If you purchase anything online then you are contributing to e-commerce.  We learned that e-commerce is growing much faster than general retail sales and that e-commerce slowdown was smaller during the recession.  Some examples of e-commerce are Agritourism, services and retail.  Almost all businesses can benefit from a website, but several are more suited to actually be selling online.  The OSU E-Commerce program has several different workshops including intro to e-commerce, small business websites, PayPal and website marketing and websites for small manufacturers.  They also provide a hands-on experience where you actually sit down with a computer and are given basic instruction.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 p.m.
Scribe: Charles Rohla

After a good lunch, Dr. Renee Daugherty shared with us the different module downloads available through the leadership development program with OCES.  There are 9 modules that take around 6 hours each.  The modules are:

-     Understanding Leadership

-     To teach participants the definition of leadership and how to develop a personal leadership style.

-     Humor and Leadership

-     Recognize the “Humor Paradox” and identify serious messages and to recognize which types of humor can do more damage       than good.

-     Team Building

-     Help participants understand the stages of team development, how unique background and expertise can contribute to effective teams and to understand principles for developing and managing teams.

-     Managing Controversial Public Issues

-     Identify elements of community issues; distinguish between  myths, facts and values and to appreciate the importance of  naming  an issue.

-     Managing Challenging Situations and People

-     Recognize the personal and professional benefits of successfully working with challenging people and situations and identify the characteristics of challenging people and situations.

-     Power and Influence

-     Help participants understand the idea of power as it pertains to community leadership development and learn the seven bases of power.

-     Ethical Leadership

-     Integrate principles of leadership and principles of ethics and  enhance the capabilities of community leaders to recognize and  act according to their ethical beliefs.

-     Citizen Engagement through Public Deliberation

-     To increase knowledge of public deliberation and how it can be used to engage citizens in public decision making.

-     Leadership Plenty

-     Is a community leadership program designed to equip citizens to  take effective civic action?

Dr. Glenn Muske spoke to us about entrepreneurs and their importance in rural areas. Dr. Muske shared an example of rural entrepreneurship and how it affects communities. 

“Entrepreneurship is someone who is in business. To be in business you must be trying to make a profit, if no profit it is a hobby.”   

Mr. Stan Ralstin spoke to us about the PRIDE program (Producing Resourceful Informed Devoted Employees).  PRIDE can be the link between customer service and community success.  Customer service is usually the frontline workers with the first contact many people have with a community.  If this person is negative about the community then the traveler may move on to the next community.  With the many issues facing OK communities attracting business into small communities will be important and the service sector is very important in keeping this business.   

Dr. Notie Lansford spoke to us about having a healthy government through training opportunities.  The OCES provides education, training and technical assistance to county offices and state and local agencies.  OCES promotes professionalism and efficiency of county government operations.  The objectives of the training program are to encourage professional development of county officials and employees. 

Next we had a panel to discuss activities community activity involvement. Topics that were discussed follow:

            Suzette Barta – Payne Co.

-     Use of e-commerce

-     Micro-business resource conference for small home base businesses

-     Training on demand

Darla Heller – Wagoner Co.

-     Community and Industrial development

-     Leadership development programs

-     Economic development roundtables

-     Focuses on building the small businesses to increase community

Mick Jones – Lincoln Co.

-     First involvement in rural development was after the May 3rd tornado were they looked at             economic impact of the mall before and after the tornado

-     Working with communities on strategic planning

-     Importance of getting people interested and involved in meetings and solutions

Jackie Roberts – USDA Rural Development –single family housing

-     Shared with us the different programs that are available

-     Hurricane replacement program where they provided housing for hurricane refugees

-     Grants for home improvements for low income and elderly

Scott Neufeld

-     Talked about issues and challenges within the county

-     The importance of the PRIDE program for small communities

-     The importance of ‘Use Tax’ for small rural communities

-     Feasibility studies to attract businesses in communities

Brent Thompson

-     Promotion of events in communities.

-     Programs through OCES that are available and their importance

-     It is important to be passionate about the community

Ms. Allie Shinn, an OSU international graduate student, visited with us about her summer trip to Morocco.

Thursday, December 3, 2009 a.m.
Scribe: Kent Switzer

The morning began with our Chairperson Annette Riherd introducing our facilitators for the morning: Dr. Larry Sanders, Professor and Extension Economist in the Ag. Economics Dept. of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at OSU. Next to be introduced was Dr. Joe Schatzer. Dr. Schatzer is the undergraduate advisor coordinator and undergraduate curriculum coordinator for the Dept. of Agricultural Economics at OSU. Our final facilitator for the morning was Dr. James Trapp. Dr. Trapp currently serves as Associate Director of Extension Programs for OSU. Also joining us were Drs. Shideler, Campiche, and Dicks.

The class members were divided into different “occupations” including the roles of farmers, buyers and sellers, a trader, a labor chief, government officials, a factory manager, and two bankers.
The premise of the game in the fictional country of Lusitania was for the farmers to acquire seed and fertilizer as well as any chemical they might need for the year. They then planted the crop, and were randomly given birth rates, different insect problems, and rain scenarios; all of which affected their potential margin for profitability. They were also required to keep enough crop (rice) as carryover to feed their necessary work force.

As the game progressed the farmers were required to buy, sell, or trade their assets to acquire more desirable or needed assets. They could do this through the buyer, seller, or trader. A need for additional capital would send them to the bankers. Those farmers fortunate enough to have surplus capital would then go to the factory to buy equipment to make their farm more profitable and sustainable. The factory owner at the same time was constantly under pressure to maintain and feed workers that he obtained from the labor chief. The middlemen (buyer and seller) were attempting to buy products from the farmers or trader and re-sell them on the international market while maintaining a margin despite governmental taxes (brides) they were required to make to the government officials. The government officials were forced to provide economic stimulus back to the farmers in order to stabilize the economic base of the country.

As you can tell from the above, as the game went on from year to year, everyone was forced to make deals, back out on previous obligations, and maintain enough capital to feed and ever increasing labor force. In the end, some of the farms made money, others had people starving to death, and eventually the government itself became virtually insolvent.

As we wrapped up the game, it was apparent that those farms with a low per person to land ratio were able to survive while others had to sell assets to stay afloat. The factory, banker, and trader had a profit ratio of 2:1 when comparing ending assets to beginning assets.

I enjoyed the exercise. I thought it was fairly realistic to what we as producers face on an everyday basis; raising a crop with variable inputs, unpredictable weather, and unforeseen expenses.

Thursday, December 3, 2009 p.m.
Scribe: Daniel Skipper

After our brain teasing game of Green Revolution the group headed back down stairs to one of the conference rooms in the Wes Watkins Center to learn about Oklahoma’s involvement in international trade.
Our first guest speaker was Dessie Apostolova, the Director of the International Trade Offices with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. She has been with the Department of Commerce for the past 8 years and is originally from Bulgaria. This was her second time to speak with an OALP class before they leave for their international trip.

She first involved the group by asking the class what we expect to see and really make note of while we’re abroad. Carol Cowen expects to see lots of different landscape than she typically sees in western Oklahoma; Allen Entz expects to see different types of agriculture and methods of production; Dana Bessinger expects to see lots of different architecture while we travel; and Scott Neufeld expects to visit with different producers and learn about production issues they have and compare those to the ones we have in the US. Ms. Apostolova told us that those are very common needs and expectations of “globalization,” however the most common need to globalize is because of technology. We then watched a short video called “Shift Happens: ManHeim” that can be found on YouTube that discussed how important technology is to globalization.

Ms. Apostolova told the group that it is essential to build global relationships in business. Companies can either ignore international trade or join it to enhance competitiveness and increase market share. In 2008, Oklahoma exported over $5 billion in manufactured products out of the US; meanwhile, nearly 20% of manufacturing jobs in Oklahoma are supported by exports. She emphasized that it is very important for individuals that want to enter the international market to learn as much as they can about those countries and be prepared to experience new cultural shocks as those relationships build.
Lastly, Ms. Apostolova briefly spoke about the economies of Spain and Morocco and the import market opportunities that exist in those countries. Following questions from the group, she gave us some travel friendly advice while abroad, the most important being, watch what people from that country are doing and do that when you’re unsure.

The next speaker on our agenda was Barbara Charlet, the Market Development Coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture. Her primary responsibility is to partner with Oklahoma processed food manufacturers and assist them with their export marketing endeavors. She has also worked closely with the Made in Oklahoma Coalition.
Ms. Charlet spoke with the group about Oklahoma agriculture and international trade. She said that for every $1 in agricultural trade, it creates $1.48 in supporting business activity. She also said that in Oklahoma, almost all food processors are located in small to medium size towns but many of them are in the international market, such as Seaboard Foods, Bar S, Head Country, and Griffin Foods.
Next Ms. Charlet told the class about the Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA) that helps companies begin international trade and search for target markets for their products. They look at trade statistics, market sizes, market regulations, market fits, and selection of appropriate activities for particular countries.

Lastly, Ms. Charlet closed with passing out handouts that show international trade statistics for Spain and Morocco and discussed the importance of the US to their import and export markets.
Due to some scheduling conflicts, the last speaker on our agenda, Dr. Rosslyn Biggs, D.V.M. from the USDA Veterinarian Services, was not about to attend. She is supposed to be passing her presentation materials on to the group however.

In her place, class member John Cothren presented his portion of Team 3’s international presentation. He gave a very good overview of the Spanish government. Spain is a constitutional monarchy that consists of 3 branches of government. In the legislative branch there are 350 seats in congress, in the judicial branch there is a Constitutional Tribunal Court and a Supreme Tribunal Court, and in the executive branch there is a king, King Juan Carlos I who has ruled since November 1975. John spoke briefly about the government’s history and how it became what it is today. He also spoke about the Spanish military and its relationship to the US military. Lastly, John cited a website that we should all visit for up to date Spanish information in English,

Our session adjourned after a few comments from Dr. Joe. While dinner was on our own, the group decided to meet at Hideaway Pizza to eat and surprise Ryan and Marcy Luter with a baby shower! A wonderful time was had by all!

Friday, December 4, 2009
Scribe: David McMullen

Our day started promptly at 8:00 am with Scott introducing John Caddel who had worked six years in Morocco from 1971 to 1977. Mr. Caddel started by showing us a map of Morocco and the route we will be taking on our trip in February. He went on explaining the different regions of Morocco and the major cities in the country. He was employed by the University of Minnesota and contracted by the United States Agency of International Development. There purpose was to build a Moroccan Agricultural University a project that lasted 20 years. The first graduating class was 6 students in 1972. He went on to explain that Morocco is a very liberal Muslim nation and is very modernized, and is a kingdom about the same size as California. They gained their independence over a 30 to 40 year period from France. It has a Mediterranean climate with mild and wet winters and dry and hot summers. Its population has grown from 13 million in 1970 to about 35 million in 2009. It has a good infrastructure that was started by the French and was carried on by the Moroccans. Its economy is based on tourism, phosphate, and horticultural exports. Over the years the country has went from mostly rural to a very urban society. Mr. Caddel showed us several slides of the Moroccan people and interesting scenes that you will see around the country of Morocco. Some of those included Roman ruins that have been there for over 2000 years and have been restored by the Moroccans. Slides of Moroccan agriculture, livestock, minimum till that has been used for thousands of years. Not all Moroccan agriculture is primitive they do have tractors and modern farm equipment in some parts of Morocco. Mr. Caddel closed by answering one question from Allen about what shots we may need before going to Morocco, and he answered by mainly stating to consult your local physicians for their advice.

Scott then introduced Dr. Don Wagner, who spent 7 weeks in Morocco in 1987. He was there as a member of a review team associated with the University of Nebraska. He went on to talk about his time in Morocco and stated that it was completely fascinating. He warned us that we would experience culture shock especially if we had never had any experience in a developing country. Another thing is that we would find that they did not like their women to be photographed and referred to it as a religious no-no. He talked about their climate and rainfall and that they have many different climates in the country with rainfall from 0 to 100 inches depending on where you were. He talked about the fact there are a lot of rocks there but they just cultivate around them. He stated that they still live in a lot of ways just like in the time of Christ, and farm much in the same way as they did then. They waste nothing he said and use wheat straw to feed their animals and to build their homes. Their markets are very much social events and there is a lot of bartering going on at these sales, they do prefer the smaller animals because of the lack of refrigeration. He closed with the observation of the farmer using a donkey and a camel pulling a plow, and through a translator they were able to ask the farmer why he didn’t use two camels. The farmer replied that you could not get the camel to follow the furrow, but the donkey would. So the conclusion to his observation was that even with some training you can teach a jack ass to be an effective leader.

Scott then introduced Dr. Jayson Lusk who is a professor at OSU, who spent a week in Spain this past summer around Barcelona. He talked about the hotels, the beaches, and the transportation in Spain and Europe. He talked about the Spaniards concept of time and how laid back they were, and how interesting the food is there. Mostly seafood and they have very big lunches with wine and beer. And then dinner is not till around 9: oo p.m. tipping at restaurants is not expected but is appreciated. He went on to talk about taking money and said now when he goes he just takes his debit card and uses the ATM’s that are there. He talked some about the architecture in Spain particularly in Barcelona and how unique and beautiful it is. He closed by stating that one of the great things about Europe is that you can hop on a train and be just about anywhere in a day or less.

We then started our group presentations, below are the group members and selected topic with reports due by Jan. 15th.

Group 1: Geography/ Climate and Trip Preparation- Scott Neufield, Dana Bessinger, Allen Entz, Jackie Roberts

Group 2: Agriculture of Spain/ Morocco-Brent Thompson, Burton Harmon, Scott Sproul, Tim Taylor, Charles Rohla

Group 3: Spain’s/ Morocco’s Government-John Cothren, Annette Riherd, Mary Steichen

Group 4: Culture of the people of Spain/ Morocco-Carol Cowan, Rose Bonjour, Kent Switzer, Chad Selman

Group 5: Health and Education in Spain/ Morocco-Lisa Blubaugh, Wesley Crain

Group 6: Spain/ Morocco Economics and as Global Competitors-Daniel Skipper, Ryan Luter, Michael Marlow, David McMullen

Group 7: Transportation, Communications, and Infrastructure of Spain/ Morocco- Gary Kafer, Brandon Winters, Jared Cullison

Group 8: Spain/ Morocco Current Events-John Leonard, Mechelle Hampton

Dr. Sue Williams then came to instruct us on the challenge and effective packing methods for our international trip. The main challenges are not to over pack and keep your bags under the 50 lb weight limit. We are only allowed one bag per person and that is mainly for our own benefit. With all of different means of transportation we will be using, getting around with more than one bag will be very difficult on a 14 day trip. Dr. Sue suggests a suitcase that is no more than 26” long and 18” wide, it is a good size that will keep you within the limitations. Taking a suitcase that has good rollers and an attachment to connect your carryon bag, so you only have to keep up with one bag while in transit. Before packing spend some time with the itinerary and check the weather, so you will know what type and how heavy of clothes to pack. How much walking we will be doing which is quite a bit so good shoes for that. She talked about packing personnel items, makeup, toiletries, and medications. She suggested packing Band-Aids, triple antibiotic ointment, and new skin for blisters on your feet. Try and stay with a color scheme such as black or brown and stick with that scheme throughout the trip. This makes packing a whole lot easier rather than different color schemes for different days. Dr. Sue gave an excellent list to use while packing for the trip; it included packing suggestions for women and men, what to bring in a carryon bag, and what to carry on your person. This list will be distributed shortly and will be a tremendous tool to all of us. Thank you Dr. Sue this was very valuable information.

Dr. Joe closed Seminar XII with a few announcements. He commented on our team reports and how good of a job we all did. With Kelly present he thanked her for all of her hard work and the class all agreed with a round of applause. Dr. Joe mentioned passport and medical information that is needed before we leave. This information is needed now and not right before we leave so if provisions need to be made there will be adequate time to do so. He then passed out packets from AgroTours with information about our trip, and encouraged us to read over the information before our trip. He also asked that each of us bring $25.00 to the airport and one or two class members would be in charge of tipping drivers and guides when appropriate. He also asked for the classes consent to purchase more pens to give to presenters while we are there. We will all be responsible for the cost of our own luggage charges on the trip, so be prepared to handle those ourselves. Bring your name tags we will be wearing them while on farm visits and with our guides. The ladies are not required to bring head dress, but if needed can be purchased there with a minimal cost. Each one of us will need to bring a small picture album of our operations and family that we can share with the people in Spain and Morocco. Also Dr. Joe closed with insurance information we all need to find out if our medical insurance will cover us during international travel and if so that information needs to be given to Kelly and Dr. Joe as soon as possible. The main concern for our trip is safety, safety, and safety we all want to learn and have a great experience while in Spain and Morocco. See everyone in February HAPPY HOLIDAYS.