South Dakota Agricultural and Rural Leadership Foundation

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What Is SDARL?

SDARL is the South Dakota Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program. A unique leadership development program offering intensive study, training and travel for future leaders.


Who Participates?

Approximately thirty participants, who have demonstrated leadership ability, are chosen for each class. Class members must be involved in ranching, farming, or agribusiness. Each class runs eighteen months, beginning in November of even numbered years and finishing by April of the next even numbered year. Class VIII is currently underway.


What Is The Format?

Over the course of 18-months, the class will attend nine thee to four day seminars across the state of South Dakota. A one week national study tour to Washington D.C. is held in February of the first year with a 10-12 day international study tour in February of the final year.


What Is The Cost?

The total cost of the eighteen month program is approximately $18,000 per participant. Each participant pays $4,200. The remaining funds are raised throughinvestments from corporations, commodity associations, alumni, grants, and individuals who share our passion for developing quiality leaders for agriculture and our rural communities.


Who Runs the Program?

SDARL is a 501-(c)-3 non-profit corporation run by a 15-member Board of Directors. The office is staffed by a CEO, and the program is overseen by an Executive Director.


Why Should You Support SDARL?

Agricultural is the most important sector of the South Dakota economy. Yet agriculture's representation among decision-making entities is at an all time low. The SDARL Program provides better representation by training new rural agriculture leadership - ethical, honest, and motivated individuals qualified to lead through changing and difficult times.


The leaders we are training are committed to agriculture and to their communities throughout rural South Dakota. Every day, the 271 graduates of the SDARL program have a positive and profound impact on the state and rural communities through their leadership roles.


The challenges and opportunities of today will be replaced with new opportunities tomorrow. The quality of our agriculture and rural leaders will determine how well we meet those challenges and realize those opportunities.


Broad-Based Support = Long Term Success

The best way to realize the SDARL mission of identifying and developing leaders for agriculture and our rural communities is if the industry and communities support and embrace the benefits of the program. This will ensure that our best and brightest will have access to the training they need to maximize their effectiveness. The key to long term success is establishing broad-based financial support.


A Good Investment with Tax Benefits

The federal government encourages charitable giving by providing significant tax benefits when you make a gift to a qualified charity. Contributions to the SDARL Program are tax deductible.


Popular Gift Options

A. Cash Contributions

Cash donations are the most popular way to make charitable gifts. The net cost of your cash gift to a qualified charity becomes apparent at tax time.


B. Designated SDARL Contributors

Some people like to have their donation specifically pay for an activity of the Program. There is a great flexibility in how these types of contributions can be made. Contact the SDARL Office to discuss details. These contributions directly offset budget expenditures, and thus qualify as tax-deductible contributions. Sponsorship opportunities include but are not limited to sponsoring: entire seminars, specific events, speakers, meals or breaks. Various contributor levels are also set up.


C. Endowing a Seminar

You or your company can sponsor a seminar in perpetuity by endowing a seminar. Contact CEO Don Norton to discuss the possibility of naming rights and other options.


The Return on Your Investment

We use the term "investment" when we talk about a gift to SDARL. It's an investment because you get a return on your investment, which is lived out every day in the lives of our servant leaders.

In This Section

Contact Us to Discuss an Investment


Don Norton, CEO

Box 2170

Animal Science Center 132

Brookings, SD  57007

(309) 259-0047


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