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Junior Rural Economics and Leadership Program

South Dakota Farmers Union innovative junior leadership development program invests in high school juniors and seniors and presents a comprehensive one-day seminar to students from various high schools in different locations across South Dakota.

Recent academic studies show that today’s young people strongly believe in the concepts of community involvement, leadership and taking action to influence social and community values.

In this program student participants engage in hands-on exercises while learning techniques to articulate civic responsibility. This may include, but is not limited to, involvement in government, church, volunteerism and/or becoming a member of a voluntary association.

If your school is interested in Jr. REAL, contact Rachel Haigh-Blume at (605) 352-6761 ext. 125


The conference focuses on:

  • Leadership development
  • Civic responsibilities
  • Credit issues and identity theft
  • Life skills
  • Motivation

The students will apply their leadership skills while taking an active role in their hometowns through community service and leadership projects as a follow-up. Over the course of the school year approximately 20 schools and 1,000 students are affected.

Expected Results & Continuation of Project

Upon successful completion of Jr. REAL, high school juniors and seniors have the experience of planning and implementing a community-building project. Through this, students strengthen their competencies and skills that support civic awareness such as leadership, motivation and economics.