June 08, 2010

Youth Gain Leadership Skills and Learn about Agriculture at the Missouri Agribusiness Academy

High school students from around Missouri will learn about agriculture careers and develop leadership skills as they participate in the 2010 Missouri Agribusiness Academy, starting yesterday and ending on Friday, June 11. The event, hosted by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, includes behind-the-scenes tours of agricultural businesses and inspirational addresses by ag leaders in Missouri.

Participants in the five-day-long leadership conference will learn about career opportunities in Missouri's multi-billion agriculture industry as they visit innovative farms and successful agricultural businesses.  They will also gain insight into statewide agricultural policy as they hear from legislative, education and industry experts including Department of Agriculture Director Dr. Jon Hagler.

"This program offers Missouri's best and brightest youth the chance to see the great range of opportunities available to them in agriculture," says Missouri Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. "The Missouri Agribusiness Academy is an insight into the state's vibrant and diverse agriculture industry. The knowledge they gain this week will open their eyes to the possibilities in agriculture and help them in making future educational and career decisions."

Thirty high school sophomores from across the state were selected to attend this year's Missouri Agribusiness Academy. To qualify, students must be a member of a 4-H club or FFA chapter or be a member of a Missouri farm family. Finalists from each of six state FFA districts were selected through a process that included a review of applications and interview of semi-finalists.

Highlights of the group's itinerary include visits to the College of the Ozarks in Branson, the DARR Center at Missouri State University, the Missouri Farm Bureau in Jefferson City and FCS Financial in Springfield. Tours during the week will include Hiland Dairy Foods, Askinosie Chocolate, Fassnight Creek Farm, the Springfield Livestock Marketing Center, Osage Catfisheries and the Sunshine Valley Farm Market and Bakery.

For more information and a complete listing of this year's Missouri Agribusiness Academy members, log onto mda.mo.gov.


Editor's note: Photos from day one of the Missouri Agribusiness Academy are posted at http://www.flickr.com/photos/moagriculture.