Students Sharpen Ag Policy Knowledge on the Hill

Aug 06, 2019

Front row, left to right: Sarah Dintelman, Lora Wright, Maria Brockamp and Brooke Beinhart. Back row, left to right: Kolesen McCoy, Claire Eggerman, Abbie Wooten, Allie Lock, Leah Mosher and Tyler Zimpfer. 

A select group of 10 college students from across the country completed the Ag Voices of the Future program, July 22-25, 2019, in Washington, D.C. The program is sponsored by Valent U.S.A. and the American Soybean Association (ASA) and gives students an inside look at how agricultural policies are made in Washington. The class was held in conjunction with ASA’s summer board meeting and Soy Issues Forum.

An application process for the Ag Voices of the Future program was initiated this past winter in partnership with the collegiate organization Agriculture Future of America (AFA). Students had the opportunity to apply for the AFA Leaders Conference and Ag Voices of the Future program through the same application. The following students were selected for this year’s Ag Voices of the Future class:

•Brooke Beinhart, Iowa
• Sarah Dintelmann, Illinois
• Alexandria Lock, Missouri
• Leah Mosher, Iowa
• Lora Wright, Missouri
• Maria Brockamp, Illinois
• Claire Eggerman, Illinois
• Kolesen McCoy, Ohio
• Abbie Wooten, Oklahoma
• Tyler Zimpfer, Ohio

“We are proud to collaborate with ASA and support the soybean industry to provide students with a hands-on educational experience focused on ag policy,” said Matt Plitt, Valent U.S.A.’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Valent is committed to advancing sustainable agriculture, and this program provides our next-generation of leaders with the opportunity, access, and education that will enable them to grow their skills and knowledge to shape the future of agriculture.”

The students received an education on effective advocacy and the significant legislative, trade and regulatory issues that impact farmers. The program also gave students the chance to visit with others who work in Washington to learn more about careers related to agriculture policy.

“ASA appreciates Valent’s support of this valuable program helping to develop future agriculture industry leaders,” said ASA President Davie Stephens, from Clinton, Ky. “As the majority of Americans are at least three generations removed from the farm, it’s important to invest in these young people who have a strong ag background and interest in shaping our industry and agriculture policies. Cultivating these interests and their passion is not only an investment in their futures—but the future of the agriculture industry.”

The students visited with staff from USDA and EPA; participated in Hill visits with their state soybean associations; and met with a senior staff member for the Senate Ag Committee and leaders from other national organizations, including CropLife America. They also completed a writing workshop with a top speech writing firm, and enjoyed an evening tour of the National Mall and Memorial Parks.

ASA will issue an announcement next winter on how to apply for the summer 2020 Ag Voices of the Future program. For more information, visit the “Education and Resources” section of the ASA website.