Ag Voices of the Future Conference Provides New Networking and Career Development Opportunities
This summer, rising sophomore Abby Meier (Agrimarketing; Elizabethtown, IN) was selected to attend the Ag Voices of the Future conference in Vancouver, Washington. As the only Purdue student to attend, Abby was able to represent the College of Agriculture while also stepping out of her comfort zone and make new friends from all over the country.
Abby first learned about the Agriculture Voices of the Future program through the AFA scholarship application. While filling out the application for AFA, Abby noticed a box with information for the conference she was able to click and show her interest in attending. In order to attend, Abby completed an application process through the AFA scholarship application which consisted of general information about the applicant, leadership and service positions, essays and a resume. At the end of July 2021, Abby received formal notification that she was accepted into the program
The first two days of the conference were filled with educational sessions and networking events. The third day was a tour of the Pacific Northwest and dining at the Skamania Lodge while getting to interact with Board members and other peers.
Among the many interactive sessions offered, participants were also able to expand their network with career professionals and explore new career opportunities. "We had the opportunity to hear from industry professionals from different backgrounds about their take on current agriculture policies and how they will affect the industry. They also told us about the different job opportunities that come with agriculture policy and their own experiences that they have had. We also learned about the soybean and corn exports in the state of Washington as well as all of the fruit production. Each student also had the opportunity to interact and have lunch with their state's representatives. This allowed me to make great connections with Indiana's Soybean Board representatives and others that attended the event from Indiana. On the last day, we got to go sightseeing throughout the Pacific Northwest specifically on a riverboat cruise along the Willamette and Columbia rivers. We got to see several different mountains and Portland from then water. Lastly, we went to the Skamania lodge for dinner and interacted with board members and other peers."
This conference not only taught Abby a lot about agriculture policy and the impacts it has on our country, but it allowed her to network with industry professionals. "Getting to connect with these industry professionals was a great experience for me because prior to the conference, I had never interacted directly with people in agriculture outside of Purdue. This conference also taught me more about sustainability and how it will shape the future in terms of agriculture in the United States."
Now that the conference is over, Abby is thankful for the experience and is looking forward to attending the AFA policy institute in Washington, D.C. this September. "I would just like to add that I am beyond grateful for this opportunity. I would also like to give a huge thanks to Valent U.S.A and The American Soybean Association for allowing me to attend the Ag Voices of the Future program. Lastly I would highly suggest that any student who is interested in agriculture policy should apply to this program because it truly was a great experience."