About Us IALF Story
Class of 2018

Class of 2018


“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”  This quote from Franklin Roosevelt succinctly summarizes the mission of the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation (IALF) to develop knowledgeable and effective leaders for the agricultural industry – leaders who will confront and solve our most urgent problems of global and local food security and sustainability .

The need for leadership development in food and agriculture grew out of a conference in 1981 on “Leadership Development for Rural America” sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Washington State University Cooperative Extension. Then, as now, Illinois ranked as one of our nation’s leading agricultural production states. Emerging leaders were dedicated and capable professionals, well versed in knowledge of “how to” grow and process food. However, they often needed further training in other disciplines such as communication, business, consumer relations, policy development and trade. A model for leadership development was formed that would be managed and funded by the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation.

The IALF is a non-profit (501 c 3) educational corporation under Illinois law.  The funds raised provide for the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program (IALP), a 19-month, dynamic development program that focuses on building the skills, knowledge and character of leaders. In addition, the IALF provides Advanced Leadership Training (ALT) seminars for food and agricultural instructors, partners in the food and agriculture space, and advanced training for IALP alumni. Our mission is to develop knowledgeable and effective leaders to become policy and decision makers for the agricultural industry.

The IALF is overseen by a 15-member board of directors who are engaged in directing the Foundation’s curriculum and business activities. The bios of our board members may be viewed HERE.  An annual audit is conducted to ensure the integrity of expenditures.  Our funds are used for leadership development curriculum for the IALP and increasing our leadership outreach activities to high school and grammar school-aged populations.

We invite you to explore our website to learn more about the role Illinois agriculture will have in feeding the world, and about the leaders we are developing to meet that awesome responsibility.