Serving Minnesota and Northern Iowa.

MARL experience is almost information overload

By Janet Kubat Willette
jkubat@agrinews.com

Date Modified: 11/27/2012 9:55 AM

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A cluttered bunch of words are tumbling around my brain as I attempt to write about Seminar One for MARL Class 7.

Overwhelmed. Excited. Stressed. Tired. Eager. Wow. Stretched. Ah-ha.

I discovered things I didn't know about myself over the three days we met. We took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a personality assessment, with Catherine Rasmussen, Extension educator from the University of Minnesota on the third day.

She got us up and moving around the room during exercises aimed to show how thinkers and feelers, judgers and perceivers look at the world. It became crystal clear why my husband and I argue when it comes to vacation planning.

While he wasn't there to take the test, he would have been on the other end of the scale. I'm more of a planner, I want to reserve a room and have an idea of what we're going to do. He's more of a fly by the seat of his pants kind of guy.

It drives me crazy.

Neither way is right nor wrong, Rasmussen explained, rather it's understanding different personalities and figuring out how to get the best from everyone.

Another exercise grouped us according to how we scored and gave us a problem to solve. The extremes on either side of the scale laid out very different versions to address the same issue. Those of us in the middle wanted to address both issues at the same time. It was eye-opening to say the least.

We had other great speakers as well. Kent Olson, a University of Minnesota professor from the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics, got us thinking about farm policy. Andi Egbert, a research analyst from the Minnesota State Demographic Center, outlined population trends in Minnesota. Emily Neperman from Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall gave us photo tips, which are always helpful to someone who regularly takes photos and is always looking for hints to make them better.

Another highlight was touring Nova-Tech on Willmar's MinnWest Technology campus. Nova-Tech manufactures equipment for hatcheries around the world. Their business is officed in buildings that were once a state hospital. They are amazing structures with wonderful windows that flood the work spaces with light.

It was easy to tell the Nova-Tech employees who served as our tour guides and presenters enjoy their jobs.

Visiting with alumni at the banquet on Nov. 14 was another highlight. I value and appreciate the insight of others who have participated in the leadership development program.

The three-day schedule is jam-packed and I fell into bed mentally exhausted both evenings.

By the third day, I began to feel kinship with these strangers from across the state. It's close to the feeling I experienced at Girls State. We came strangers from across the state, but left friends.

I can't yet associate every name with a face, but I'm picking up things about everyone. There's the guy with the radio voice and the woman from human resources. There's a jokester and a talker, 4-H alumni and former FFA state officers.

All are amazing and filled with talent. I can't wait to get to know each of them more as we continue our 18-month Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership journey.

What happened on the home front?

The girls had a good time at grandma's, marred only by the fact they needed to board the bus at 6:50 a.m. They had French toast sticks for breakfast, played games, did their homework and read books.

The boys, well, the house was still standing when I arrived home. That's a good sign.

And, I was right, there was laundry waiting for me. I got home early enough to finish three loads before bed.