United by a shared passion and commitment for agriculture, 586 college men and women gathered in Kansas City, Missouri, for the 2014 Agriculture Future of America Leaders Conference, Nov. 6-9. This year’s delegation represented 92 schools and 37 states.
The 2014 theme “Activate” challenged students to activate their own potential and seek to be a catalyst for positive change on their campuses and in the sectors of agriculture closest to them. Throughout the four-day experience, students engaged in programming that fostered their personal and professional development and allowed them to explore what it means to be activators. Highlights of the program included charges from Vietnam veteran Captain Charlie Plumb, University of Denver Associate Professor Corey Ciocchetti and the 2014 AFA Leader in Agriculture Award recipients Dan Dye, CEO of Ardent Mills, and Bruce Rastetter, CEO of the Summit Group.
Recognizing the importance of mentorship, more than 400 industry professionals provided advice, wisdom and skill enhancement training through a variety of interactions, including Conference sessions, panels and round tables. Nearly 90 organizations shared internship, full-time and study abroad opportunities with the delegates through the AFA Opportunity Fair.
Led by the nine-member Student Advisory Team, delegates ended the weekend by reflecting on the next steps they needed to take individually and collectively to become the leaders of the agriculture industry. For some, this may mean applying to be a part of the leadership team that will plan and facilitate the 2015 AFA Leaders Conference, Nov. 5-8.