AgEcon Students Attend AFA Policy Institute
Ag Futures of America (AFA) sponsored four Purdue College of Agriculture students to the AFA Policy Institute in Washington D.C. The Policy Institute hosted 40 students and allowed the students to join nearly 60 other students sponsored by FFA, 4-H, and NAMA for National Ag Day events! During National Ag Day, the students visited with legislators from their home states to shared their personal stories of the value of agriculture in their lives and ended the day with a reception emceed by Orion Samuelson. As part of the AFA Polity Institute, they had breakfast with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack; dinner with Congressman Aaron Schock; learned interview techniques from Max Armstrong and Tom Brand; visited with professionals from the USDA, legislative aids, agriculture policy advisors, and lobbyists; and toured several monuments in the city.
Anbo Wang (Junior, Agribusiness Management ; China) stated, “AFA Policy Institute in D.C. is my best experience at college. I personally learned so much about the policy making process and networking with professionals.”
Michael Baird (Senior, Agribusiness Management & Horticulture Production and Marketing; Scottsburg, IN) shared, “I have had the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. several times but each time I go the experience gets better. It seems to just build and add to the experience that I had before. Getting to interact with students from across the country who want to advocate for agriculture and being able to reconnect with friends are two of the best parts of this trip. Also, being able to sit down and ask a former Secretary of Agriculture what they did to become the leader that they currently are is mind blowing! This trip allows us as students to have the opportunity of a lifetime. This is just another reason why I love being in agriculture and a student in the College of Ag at Purdue University. “
Jackson Troxel (Senior, Agricultural Economics; Hanna, IN) added the following thoughts, “"Going to D.C. to learn about the legislative environment was a great experience for me! I think sometimes as everyday people, we can lose sight of the power and voice that we have on the political arena, especially within agriculture. It was an opportunity to witness firsthand what really goes on at the Capitol. The biggest lesson that I learned was from Congressman Aaron Schock from Illinois. His story as to how he got to the House of Representatives is so inspiring in itself, but his motivation for what he does is even more reassuring for those concerned with what happens in Washington. I learned that diversity in the legislature is essential-- primarily in thought, age, and experience. He challenged of us as students to get involved in our communities, making a difference at a young age. Also, being engaged does not necessarily mean running for office, there are many other ways to get plugged in!"
Mariah Huff (Senior, Agricultural Education; Brownstown, IN) combined the AFA trip with the National Teach Ag Campaign program and had the opportunity to teach an agriculture lesson to 7th grade students in Washington D.C. . Huff stated, “This experience was truly eye opening and shows how vital Agriculture Education is to our country and specifically to urban areas and inner city schools.” 4-H also sponsored two other Boilermakers for the National Ag Day events - Holly Kyler (Sophomore, Agricultural Education; Columbia City, IN) and Cullen Johnson (Freshman, Plant Genetics; Farmersburg, IN).