Posted on 6/30/17
(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.)–Thirty high school seniors from across Missouri completed the third annual Helping Youth Prepare for Excellence (HYPE) FFA Academy June 27-29, in Columbia, Mo. The three-day academy is designed to inform and empower agriculture students to effectively engage in today’s issues. It was sponsored by the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council and hosted by the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri.
“The young people involved in agriculture are our future,” noted Missouri Corn board member Gary Porter of Mercer who shared his farm story and the importance of being involved during an industry panel. “We must give them every advantage possible and the knowledge we have accumulated over the years to help them, and the industry as a whole be successful. Having three sons active in agriculture and coming back to the farm, I especially know how big of an impact these FFA members will have on Missouri agriculture.”
Students learned how to effectively talk about their experiences in farming, overcome obstacles and develop their communication and personal skills. Learning sessions included advocacy training, communication basics and social media outreach. Students heard from farmers, industry representatives, bloggers and Congressman Jason Smith on how to effectively advocate on issues. The group also toured the University’s Bradford Farm to learn more about advancements in crop production and research for a stronger agriculture future.
Wrapping up the academy, participants put their skills into action during mock legislative hearings at the Missouri State Capitol. Students presented on key issues to Missouri Sens. Brian Munzlinger and Caleb Rowden and State Reps. Rusty Black, Bill Reiboldt, Jay Houghton, Joshua Peters and Tracy McCreery. Students also had a chance to meet with Missouri Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn.
“Being part of the HYPE Academy will help not only me but my community,” said HYPE participant Drew Ryan Smith of Appleton City. “In the past we haven’t been the boldest when it comes to advocacy. I’d like to take the social media, legislative and communication skills I learned and share them with fellow FFA members, community members and local farmers. More people need to be involved to successfully tell agriculture’s story.”
Learn more about HYPE by contacting Missouri Corn Communications Manager Hilary Black at (800) 827-4181 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Missouri Corn Merchandising Council is an organization of corn growers dedicated to developing and expanding corn markets, educating growers and customers and exploring new research opportunities. Learn more at www.mocorn.org. The National FFA Organization makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
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Director of Communications
Missouri Corn Growers Association