AGEC Student Gains Deeper Understanding of the Animal Health Industry through Conference Experience 

Written by Jo Thomas, Academic Advisor, Agricultural Economics

Jasmine Leininger (Sophomore; Agrimarketing; Mishawaka, IN) comes from a farming background, with experience at her family’s farming operation, specializing in livestock and row-crops.  Her passion for Agriculture comes naturally and her desire to learn more about the Animal Health Field lead her to apply for a spot at the AFA Animal Institute. 

The AFA Animal Institute is an annual event hosted in Kansas City, Missouri. The three day event is open to any college student who is pursuing a career in the Agriculture Industry. In order to attend, participants must be selected through an application process which evaluates their experience in production, education and career goals. 

As a participant, Jasmine was able to attend three different professional tours. The first stop was at Merck Animal Health, where attendees were able to speak with professionals who work onsite as well as those that work in their laboratories. The visit included a tour of onsite facilities and a Q & A session with business personnel. The second stop was at the Kansas City Department of Agriculture. Participants were able to tour the Kansas State Capital Building in Topeka, Kansas as well as see the different conference rooms where hearings and sessions of voting take place.  The third and final stop was at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, where they were able to tour the dog and cat laboratories as well as the animal housing facilities for animals used in different types of food testing. 

From this experience, Jasmine was able to gain a deeper understanding of the issues, both positive and negative, facing the Animal Health Industry. She also enjoyed learning from others their views and practices on their operations. “It was interesting to hear the insight of other professionals as well as students who come from very similar backgrounds, but may do things that are slightly different then how my family and I do things on our farm.” 
She also noted the personal growth that occurred during her experience. “I have grown a tremendous amount from this experience.  I learned to communicate and network better with Professionals as well as students who share the same passion for Agriculture that I do.”

Jasmine would encourage other students to attend the AFA conference as she enjoyed the chance to network with students and experts. “Overall I would highly recommend this type of experience to anyone who has the opportunity and chance to attend at least one.  Through this experience, I had the opportunity to meet and to network with students from different universities all over the country, along with professionals.”

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