The Gov. Dolph Briscoe Jr. Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership program, TALL, offered through Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, has announced its 19th class of cohorts.

A woman with long red hair talks to a man in a cowboy hat and a woman in a blue dress at the graduation ceremony for TALL cohorts.
Past TALL cohorts socialize at their graduation ceremony from the two-year agricultural leadership program. (Laura McKenzie/Texas A&M AgriLife)

“The two-year program includes 520 hours for each cohort through seminars, speakers, and domestic and international study trips,” said Jim Mazurkiewicz, Ph.D., program director and professor in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications, Bryan-College Station. “The class time is equivalent to obtaining a master’s degree in agriculture.”

The 24 participants chosen for this latest class represent a variety of professions including farmers, ranchers, politicians, government employees, bankers and agribusiness professionals, as well as those who work in agricultural corporations, horticultural industries, insurance and media. Participants come from all geographic regions of Texas.

Standing TALL with agriculture

TALL offers intensive agricultural studies across a wide range of topics and issues. The program helps cohorts further develop their leadership strengths and understanding of domestic and international agriculture.

Each TALL session has a different theme and delves into different issues impacting agriculture. Cohorts gather for anywhere from five to 14 days each session.

The sessions include seminars with experts, on-site tours, meetings with business and government leaders, international study and personal skills improvement.

The first meeting of the program will be July 23-26 in College Station. The cohorts will meet nine times over the course of the program, including meetings in Texas, Washington, D.C., New York, Pennsylvania and California. Scheduled international agriculture sessions include a trip to Belgium and Spain. Cohorts will graduate from the program on June 19, 2026.

Class of 2024-2026

The participants for 2024-2026 are as follows:

  • Tony Adkins, Specialty Risk Insurance Agency / Adkins Livestock Services agent and owner, Teague.
  • Tim Akers, Westway Feed Products district sales manager, Iola.
  • Mike Atkinson, Rocking A Farms partner, Harlingen.
  • Lindsay Baerwald, Texas Department of Agriculture director of marketing and outreach, Austin.
  • Rex Brandon, Corteva/Pioneer Seed strategic account manager, Amarillo.
  • Texas Rep. Briscoe Cain, Law Office of Briscoe Cain attorney, Cinco Hijos Ag and Livestock owner, and chairman of Texas House of Representatives Agriculture and Livestock Committee, Deer Park.
  • Michael Cochran, Bent Oak Capital chief investment officer, Fort Worth.
  • David Cortez, Simplot Grower Solutions crop adviser, Edinburg.
  • Kody Cox, Texas Farm Credit vice president branch manager, Sulphur Springs.
  • David Derry, Texas Farm Credit vice president branch manager, Medina.
  • Scotta Faulkenberry, Nolan Ryan Brands director of supply chain, Hutto.
  • Chase Hampton, U. S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency Hill County executive director, China Spring.
  • Rachel Hargrove, Double R Media Co. owner, communications specialist, College Station.
  • Thomas Hicklen, Hicklen Farms owner, Ropesville.
  • Darci Luensmann, Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association executive director, San Angelo.
  • McCrae McCormick, McCormick Crop and Stock president and CEO, Floydada.
  • Gage Morris, JPM Co. operations manager, Purdon.
  • Cassidy Nemec, One Grower Publishing editor, Hewitt.
  • Liz Cowan Phillips, Farmers Crop Insurance chief customer officer, Rio Hondo.
  • Hunter Potts, Potts Feed Store owner, Point.
  • Nicholas Slough, Gruver Ag Supply owner, Gruver.
  • Ross Vinson, Ag Trust Farm Credit senior loan officer, Tuscola.
  • Jaylen Wallace, Texas Farm Credit branch manager, Wolfe City.
  • Ethan Westfall, Orion Solutions account manager, Dawson.

“I’m excited to welcome the next group of TALL cohorts,” Mazurkiewicz said. “We have an impressive class who are already contributing to their respective industries, and I look forward to seeing them continue to grow and develop as leaders.”

Mazurkiewicz said 95% of TALL graduates remain in agriculture-related fields and all the alumni have reported the program has helped them with job opportunities and with their leadership roles.

“The men and women of this program are the future of agricultural leadership,” he said. “The TALL program is something that benefits not only the participants but serves to better the entire agricultural industry for the good of all people in our state.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email