For whom is the AFA Leaders Conference designed?
The AFA Leaders Conference is designed for undergraduate college students majoring in agriculture and food-related four-year degree programs. The preferred age range for attendees is 18-24.
How are students selected to attend?
Students are selected in a variety of ways. Approximately 150 students are pre-identified by leader and academic scholarship programs offered by AFA. Remaining attendees are selected through a competitive application process for corporate or college/university sponsorship through AFA and its partners. Returning AFA students can also provide personal funding or seek sponsorship from their intern employers to return to the next track of the AFA Leaders Conference.
What is the expectation of attendance at the AFA Leaders Conference?
AFA and its partners expect each attendee to attend all sessions and meal functions of the AFA Leaders Conference. AFA has a responsibility to its partners that delegates will fully participate in the program to be best stewards of their investment. Therefore, students who are unable to attend the entire conference may have to forego sponsorship or face repercussions such as loss of an academic scholarship. If a student finds they are unable to attend the entire conference for any unexpected reason, they should contact AFA immediately to discuss their options.
What do I wear?
The AFA Leaders Conference is primarily a business casual event. However, Friday of the AFA Leaders Conference calls for business professional attire. Also, on Saturday evening, AFA generally hosts a casual event in which jeans and university shirts are acceptable. For guidelines on appropriate business casual and business professional, view Conference Attire.
Special Note: Hotel environments are often cool. Therefore, AFA recommends that delegates be prepared to have a jacket or sweater on hand should the temperature be too cool for your liking.
Who will be there?
The AFA Leaders Conference is attended by over 700 college men and women from across the nation. More than 300 industry leaders are involved in the conference as speakers, panelists, discussion group leaders, exhibitors or guests. Additionally, the AFA Alliance
, an organization for young professionals, hosts their annual Alliance Forum
in conjunction with the AFA Leaders Conference bringing approximately 75 young professionals to this program.
Can adults not involved (campus faculty/staff/parents/industry) attend?
AFA offers specialized programming for specific adult audiences on a limited basis. Adult presence in AFA Leaders Conference program sessions is limited to ensure the best environment for the collegiate audience.
Campus faculty/staff that are required to accompany students to the event are welcome and are encouraged to contact AFA staff for information and we ask for clarification of attendance for proper identification on site.
Parents, campus partners and industry guests may attend the AFA Leader in Agriculture Award Dinner
and can purchase tickets through AFA or online. Parents are more than welcome to travel with their child to the event but please note your child will be assigned a room with another delegate; therefore please do not plan to share hotel room costs with your child.
Can I get help with class conflicts that fall during the conference?
AFA is here to help! AFA works to strengthen our relationship with more and more colleges and universities each year. We are more than happy to do any of the following: provide a customized excuse letter to provide to your professor; utilize our personal relationships on your campus to make a request on your behalf; or contact the professor, department chair or dean directly. Please feel free to reach out to Suzanne Smith at AFA
for assistance as soon as you know you have a conflict. As much as possible, we try to avoid a situation where a student has to forego the AFA opportunity (see question on attendance) because of an academic conflict.
Is the AFA Leaders Conference an excused absence on my campus?
Good question. AFA has formal relationships with many campuses where we have a specific relationship with faculty and staff which seems to deem the AFA Leaders Conference a sanctioned event by the University. However, you must work directly with your professors on your class schedule.
What expenses are not covered?
Delegate conference registration which is a total of $1,000 covers hotel room, guest room internet, meals and program costs associated with the 3 ½ day conference. It does NOT include: transportation to/from the conference, miscellaneous beverages/snacks purchased, tips for hotel bellmen, etc.
What is the student cancellation policy?
Self Funded Delegates
Before September 12: Full refund, less $25 admin fee
September 12 – September 29: 50% refund
On and after September 30: No refund
In the interest of protecting AFA sponsor resources, the following cancellation practice will be followed:
September 30 - October 20: A cancellation fee of $100 will be assessed to the student.
October 21- October 29: A cancellation fee of $200 will be assessed to the student.
October 30- Leaders Conference: A cancellation fee of $350 will be assessed to the student.
Cancellation fees will be invoiced to the cancelling attendee for payment to Agriculture Future of America.
AFA Leader and Academic Scholars
While you should plan to adhere to the cancellation policy of "Sponsored Delegates" please also note that your attendance at AFA Leaders Conference is required. If you for some reason have to cancel your participation in Conference, AFA Staff and Community Coordinators or scholarship sponsors will make a joint decision on your future eligibility for the scholarship.
How do I apply to attend the AFA Leaders Conference?
Open application is made available through the AFA website in the spring months. Apply for Sponsorship. Selection is made in September. Also check with your college career service or academic programs office to see if your college will be sponsoring students as well. Learn More
How do I register?
After being selected to attend the AFA Leaders Conference, delegates must finalize their registration by completing and returning a registration form which will be provided to you by AFA staff upon acceptance.
What type of free time is available for doing homework or other activities?
There is limited free time during the AFA Leaders Conference. The program begins at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday and adjourns approximately 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. Days begin with sessions beginning at 7:45/8:00 a.m. and evening events generally last until 9:00. There are small 10 minute breaks between sessions and generally an hour between afternoon sessions and evening activities. View Conference Schedule
Since this conference is held in a hotel, what are standard tipping procedures?
Hotels provide services that you can say “yes” or “no” to at any time. For instance, upon check-in, you might be asked by someone in the front drive or by a bellman if you’d like your bags carried or taken directly to your room. If taking advantage of this service, you should tip $2 per bag, per individual. If you’ve parked in Valet Parking (which we discourage because it costs you more!), you should tip the driver delivering your car $2-3. If you check your bags with the bell station upon check out to pick at the conclusion of the conference, you should be ready to tip that individual $2 per bag.
What parking is available?
Garage parking is available adjacent to the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center and the Westin at Crown Center. Self-parking is $17 per day, and valet parking is $24 per day. There is also a surface outdoor lot owned by the hotel which is a great alternative for large busses or vans that do not fit in the parking garage. Just ask the hotel staff in the front drive for directions to the oversized vehicle.
What is the difference between an AFA Scholarship and Conference Sponsorship?
AFA provides academic scholarships to individuals who are chosen throughCommunity Partners in 8 Midwestern states each year, as well as to individuals selected as AFA National Leader and Academic Scholars. That scholarship package includes sponsorship for the scholar to attend the AFA Leaders Conference the fall of that same year. This is AFA’s definition of a scholarship and these are generally known as AFA Community Scholars. Sponsorship is awarded to those who apply and are selected to attend the AFA Leaders Conference through any other mechanism – corporations, colleges or universities, an intern employer, a local community donor, etc.