Agriculture Future of America Honors Nathan Laudan with Prestigious Bridge Builder Award

By Becca Stoops, AFA Marketing Manager

January 10, 2024

Caption: Nathan Laudan, American Royal Director of Education, received the 2023 AFA Bridge Builder award in November at the 2023 AFA Leaders Conference.

KANSAS CITY, MO. (January 10, 2024) — In the segmented industry of food and agriculture, Nathan Laudan stands out as a hands-on connector, making tangible links between urban and rural.

Recently honored with the 2023 Agriculture Future of America (AFA) Bridge Builder Award, the Director of Education for the American Royal Association is actively laying the foundation for a more vibrant future in agriculture. The honor, presented at AFA Leaders Conference in November, spotlights an outstanding AFA Alumni making a positive impact in world of food, agriculture and natural resources.

“There's an inherent human aspect to agriculture,” says Laudan. “When I think about the mission of feeding a growing global population — that does not happen without people who do it well. I am not where I’m at today without the folks who built bridges before me so it’s important to me to be that for others.”

In his role at the American Royal, Laudan spearheads immersive experiences, such as in-person and virtual field trips, the AgSTEM Explorer Program, FFA Youth Leadership Day, and the American Royal Leadership Summit. From introducing a Kansas City kindergartener to their first cow to organizing and leading educational experiences at the world's largest BBQ competition, Laudan's daily endeavors transcend the conventional, fostering connections that resonate. His programs and outreach events aim to inspire students of all ages, creating a bridge between them and the world of food and agriculture. Collaborating with organizations like the Girl Scout Council of Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri, AFA, 4-H, and the National FFA Organization, Laudan's inclusive approach opens doors for learning and growth.

“Nathan has an incredible knack of being able to connect anybody,” says Kelli Schrag, Membership and Communications Coordinator at the American Royal Association. “He brings people into a conversation, understands their passions, and uses those conversations to figure out what he can do to capitalize on the talent and then align it to our needs or whoever was needing that contact. He is able to convene those people to advance agriculture.”

Caption: The 2023 AFA Bridge Build Award nominees included Travis Martin (left), Nathan Laudan (center) and Kayla (Petree) Brown (right).

Laudan’s impact extends to the America Royal Museum where oversight ensures the preservation and celebration of agricultural history, connecting the past with the present and inspiring future innovators. He also oversees the disbursement of more than $175,000 in scholarships annually through the Royal Scholars, Veterinary Scholars, and various competitive event-based scholarships.

"Nathan embodies the spirit of progress and inclusivity," says Mark Stewart, AFA President and CEO. "His dedication to nurturing talent and expanding horizons epitomizes the essence of the Bridge Builder Award."

Joining Laudan as finalists for the 2023 AFA Bridge Builder Award are Kayla (Petree) Brown and Travis Martin. Nominated and selected from a pool of over 8,000 AFA alumni, Laudan, Brown, and Martin exemplify the transformative leadership that defines AFA alumni, making lasting contributions to the future of agriculture.

About Agriculture Future of America

AFA builds bridges for young leaders to foster engagement and innovation in food and agriculture through premier leader and career development experiences. With program participation increasing 28% in the last five years, AFA has provided 26,000 leader development experiences to college leaders and young professionals from more than 200 colleges and universities throughout 43 states since its inception in 1996. AFA has awarded more than $11.5 million in academic and leader development scholarships. For more information about AFA, visit

Media Contact:

Nicole Erceg

Director of Marketing


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