January 27, 2009

Gov. Jay Nixon Encourages Students to Choose Careers in Agriculture

Applications for Missouri Agribusiness Academy due Feb. 2, 2009

(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) – Encouraging Missouri youth to choose careers in agriculture, Gov. Jay Nixon is reminding high school sophomores to apply for a unique opportunity through the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) to experience careers available in the agriculture industry through the Missouri Agribusiness Academy. The academy, in its 22nd year, offers memberships to 30 Missouri high school sophomores interested in pursuing agriculture-related college degrees and careers.

“Agriculture is at a crossroads and we have an opportunity to encourage our Missouri youth to stay engaged in their family farms and to choose an agriculture-related career,” said Dr. Jon Hagler, director of MDA. “Gov. Nixon is dedicated to seeing farm families in this state thrive - agriculture is in an industry that provides billons of dollars to the state’s economy. This youth program gives academy members the chance to sit down with leaders in agriculture businesses, state government and educators to learn more about the agriculture industry. Giving students every learning tool possible to succeed is important to carrying on the state’s tradition of agriculture.”

The Missouri Agribusiness Academy, established in 1988, annually awards academy memberships through a competitive written application and oral interview process. This year academy members will tour St. Louis agribusiness operations in June 8-12, 2009. Almost all of MDA’s academy graduates have pursued careers in agriculture. Past academy members are commonly found in leadership positions such as state and national 4-H and FFA offices, campus organizations, churches and civic clubs.

To be eligible for the academy, students must come from a farming family or be an active 4-H or FFA member. Applications are available from 4-H extension youth specialists, from FFA advisors, by visiting the department’s Web site at www.mda.mo.gov/abd/outreach/agribusacademy.php or by contacting MDA’s Market Information and Outreach Program at (573) 751-5618. Applications must be postmarked by Feb. 2, 2009.