Conference FAQ

For whom is the AFA Leaders Conference designed?

We separate our delegates into four tracks: freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. You will see that each lanyard is a different color at Leaders Conference. In Track 1, freshmen apply core competencies crucial for college and career success through a lens of curiosity and self-awareness. They’ll receive training in time management and goal setting while exploring career paths in the agriculture and food industry. In Track 2, sophomores and juniors explore the interpersonal application of the competencies in teams and organizations. They’ll analyze the intersection of communication, cultural competence, relationship development and team leadership, as well as communicating personal values and strengths. Track 3 prepares juniors and seniors to live and work in a global market by practicing group collaboration and discussing global leadership and systems. They’ll work on personal financial management, cultural understanding and their transition to the workplace. Track 4 is a unique capstone experience that builds upon previous tracks of the AFA program. It’s a highly interactive, participant-directed program that culminates seniors’ growth in the core competencies and helps them set a plan for early career success. Discussion groups and participant-led facilitation add value to this experience. Learn more about their specific schedules here.

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 an application process for corporate or college/university sponsorship through AFA and its partners.

Do you have questions or need help with the application? Please send the program team an email at

What is the expectation of attendance at the AFA Leaders Conference?

AFA and its partners expect each attendee to attend all sessions 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.

Who will be there?

The AFA Leaders Conference is attended by over 800 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. 

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 absence request 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 the program team 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 the 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?

Your sponsorship does not include transportation to/from the conference, miscellaneous beverages/snacks purchased, tips for hotel bellmen, etc. Delegate conference registration which is worth $1,250 is covered by AFA's partners and includes hotel room, guest room internet, meals and program costs associated with the 3 ½ day conference. 

What is the student cancellation policy?

Please visit our cancellation policy.  Click here.

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

What is the difference between an AFA Scholarship and Conference Sponsorship?

AFA provides academic scholarships to individuals who are chosen through Community 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.