Forty-two agriculture retail and distributor leaders participated in this year's Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) Leadership Academy, a partnership with Purdue University, Feb. 5-7, in West Lafayette, Ind. This is the second year for the Academy, which has grown attendance by 35 percent since its inception.

"The Academy is an intense learning venue for retailers and distributors who want to out perform the competition," said Jack Eberspacher, ARA president and CEO. "The on-campus setting is the only executive leadership program of its kind for leaders in our industry."

The ARA Leadership Academy launched in February 2007 as an educational initiative to provide ARA members with a professional development offering to their valued employees. The Academy is an annual event, hosting the industry's finest in a two-and-a-half day leadership training program at Purdue University, one of the nation's top agriculture schools. Program highlights includes an assessment of the agriculture landscape from the customer and retailer perspectives and the global implications on both; principles of financial management; leadership development; operations and logistics efficiency models; and the art of creating and delivering value to your customers.

Program faculty features professors and guest professors of Purdue University sharing the latest in industry trends, standards and best practices. The date for next year's event is Feb. 3-5, 2009, at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.