Ten college students from across the U.S. completed the Ag Voices of the Future program, July 22-25, 2019, in Washington, D.C. The program is sponsored by Valent U.S.A. and the American Soybean Association. It gives students an inside look at how agricultural policies are made in Washington. The class was held in conjunction with ASA’s summer board meeting and Soy Issues Forum.
An application process for the Ag Voices of the Future program was initiated this past winter in partnership with the collegiate organization Agriculture Future of America. Students had the opportunity to apply for the AFA Leaders Conference and Ag Voices of the Future program through the same application. The following students were selected for this year’s Ag Voices of the Future class:
- Brooke Beinhart, Iowa
- Sarah Dintelmann, Illinois
- Alexandria Lock, Missouri
- Leah Mosher, Iowa
- Lora Wright, Missouri
- Maria Brockamp, Illinois
- Claire Eggerman, Illinois
- Kolesen McCoy, Ohio
- Abbie Wooten, Oklahoma
- Tyler Zimpfer, Ohio
“We are proud to collaborate with ASA and support the soybean industry to provide students with a hands-on educational experience focused on ag policy,” said Matt Plitt, Valent U.S.A.’s executive vice president and chief operating officer
The students received an education on effective advocacy and the significant legislative, trade and regulatory issues that impact farmers. The program also gave students the chance to visit with others who work in Washington to learn more about careers related to agriculture policy.
“As the majority of Americans are at least three generations removed from the farm, it’s important to invest in these young people who have a strong ag background and interest in shaping our industry and agriculture policies,” said ASA President Davie Stephens, from Clinton, Ky. “Cultivating these interests and their passion is not only an investment in their futures—but the future of the agriculture industry.”
The students visited with staff from USDA and EPA; participated in Hill visits with their state soybean associations; and met with a senior staff member for the Senate Ag Committee and leaders from other national organizations. They also completed a writing workshop with a top speech writing firm, and enjoyed an evening tour of the National Mall and Memorial Parks.