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The nonprofit LEAD Maryland Foundation has awarded fellowships to 22 emerging leaders from across the state to participate in the 2013-14 LEAD class.

Among the new fellows are Bradley Miller, sales manager of Miller Farms (produce and free-range egg production) in Clinton; Shelby Watson, farm manager at Montpelier Farms (grain, vegetable, livestock, agritourism) in Brandywine; and Melissa Korando, manager of Solomons Island Winery.

The foundation works to increase the number of leaders serving agriculture, natural resources and rural communities.

“LEAD Maryland has been remarkably successful in identifying and developing an ongoing cadre of leaders who understand the complexities of agriculture and natural resources,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance, who is also a member of the LEAD board of directors, in a news release. “Agriculture and natural resources, as well as rural development issues, are far from simple. LEAD Maryland helps ensure that we have informed and effective leaders working on public policy and public education. I congratulate and welcome all of the new fellows.”

Fellowships are for two years and provide participants with public-issues education, skills building, leadership development and personal growth. By participating in the program, fellows become better equipped to solve problems, identify resources, engage and educate others, and influence public policy important to Maryland’s farmers. LEAD selects fellows in a competitive process who have demonstrated emerging leadership abilities and a genuine interest in agriculture, natural resources and rural community issues, the release states.