Friday, November 9, 2012

Follow Passion, Take Action

So weird thing about myself: I love conferences! ESPECIALLY Ag conferences. I love meeting new people! I love learning about Agriculture in different parts of the country. This past weekend I got the chance to attend one of the best ones I've ever been to.. Agriculture Future of America (AFA) Leadership conference and boy was there lots to be learned.

Thanks to the Nebraska Corn Board for letting us drive
the Corn Van to Kansas City!
The conference was a four day long adventure where we spent our time interacting with industry professionals,listening to speakers,and attending a career fair among many other things. There were 500+ college aged students attending this conference which was broken up into 4 tracts. Each tract is based on your year in college, each focusing on a different part of becoming a young professional in the Ag industry.We talked about everything from how to plan for your financial future, how to approach entrepreneurship, becoming a leader, and even the importance of farm families.

The Corn Van even unpacks itself, pretty neat...

I think my favorite part of the whole thing though was just meeting other kids from across the nation! It was great seeing so many other kids there representing their respective universities but all still had a common goal: find passion, take action.

It was great just talking to kids about what Ag looks like in their area; how to grow peanuts and cotton in South Carolina or how they feed leftover potatoes to their dairy cows in Idaho (shockingly dairy being their #1 industry, not potatoes) Another great thing to see is these kids starting to take action in their communities and campuses; Purdue University started a SWAG (See What Ag Gives) program to try to teach kids about agriculture at their school. Lastly it was great to see so many African American's and women getting involved in Ag.

I got the opportunity to have a few discussions with two awesome African American young ladies with no background in Ag (although one did have a pet chicken she kept in her basement named Lunch Meat haha)but who had found a passion for it! Firstly I firmly believe there is no room for discrimination in Ag or anywhere if we want to be successful. Secondly, to me this is a reassurance that we are getting our message across to some people. They are seeing the importance and good things we're doing and want to be involved. Lastly one of the things I was most proud of was packing over 28,000 packets of soup to send oversea's to those in hunger. In lieu of speaker gifts, AFA choose to take the money to buy products to make these packets then having the students take time to assemble them, it was awesome!!

Just a few of us Nebraska students who attended AFA.

I encourage any college kid with an interest in Ag to attend this conference, there are so many things that you can take away from this conference that you will find almost nowhere else! If you want to know what some of the delegates were learning/tweeting about, just check out the #AFALC12 hashtag. To see pictures from the event you can check out the Agriculture Future of America Facebook page or the AFA website!
So I'm gonna leave you with a few quotes I got from this year's conference;

-No one remembers boring

- "Two best days of your life; the day you were born and the day you figured out why you were" ~ Mark Twain

- "People don't care what you know until they know what you care"

- "Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want"

- "Passion gives us confidence to move through things and the ability to inspire"

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