Members of Agriculture Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT) visited the Litton Agri-Science Learning Center on the morning of Saturday, July 20.
ALOT is a foundation designed to "provide advanced leadership experiences that will make a positive impact to the future of agriculture and agribusiness in Missouri and beyond," according to its mission statement. The program began in 1983, and its current class, Class XV, includes 26 members, 23 of whom were present at Saturday's panel.
ALOT members must be 25- to 45-years-old and the two-year program includes ten in-state three-day sessions, a one-week-long seminar in Washington, D.C. and a two-week international experience to a country that impacts the agriculture of Missouri.
The purpose of the program is to enhance participants' communication and leadership skills, expand their knowledge of agriculture issues and encourage leadership initiative in the agriculture industry.
The Jerry Litton Family Memorial Foundation is one of the major contributors to the ALOT program, and class members visit Chillicothe every two years as part of the program.
In addition to the 23 Class XV members, there were four members on a panel: Bonnie Mitchell, secretary of the Jerry Litton Family Memorial Foundation; Ed Turner, vice chair of the Jerry Litton Family Memorial Foundation; Lowell Mohler, former chief operating officer of the Missouri Farm Bureau; and Bill Jackson, general manager of AGRIServices of Brunswick, LLC.
The four members had firsthand knowledge of the Litton Agri-Science Learning Center and of late Congressman Jerry Litton, two topics that guided the meeting.
Turner said the purpose of the meeting was for the ALOT members to learn more about the center and about Litton's leadership role in agriculture during his lifetime.
"They attended the Agri-Science Learning Center because of its significance, what it's about and what it's for," Turner said. "One of the examples of agriculture leadership is the late congressman, Jerry Litton. They spent a lot of time discussing and analyzing his leadership skills and techniques."
Mitchell said it's important that the ALOT program visits Chillicothe because of the Learning Center's dedication to agriculture.
"It's a part of their course study to go all over Missouri and visit various agricultural businesses," Mitchell said. "One of the places they like to visit is the Litton Agri-Science Learning Center because we're one of their contributors, and this is such a unique facility in the state of Missouri dedicated to agriculture."
Roughly $4.5 million has been invested in the Litton Agri-Science Center and youth programs dedicated to area youth, which distinguishes Chillicothe as an important area for agriculture, Turner said.
"It provides purpose for people in this area unlike the rest in Missouri," Turner said.
ALOT members left Chillicothe Saturday afternoon after the panel discussion.