College students involved with 4-H, FFA and Agriculture Future of America are in Washington DC for the National Ag Day conference wrapped around Tuesday’s Ag Day. They’re getting hands on media and message training and the 100 member group is also meeting with national legislators. Purdue agriculture economics senior Jackson Troxel from LaPorte County has a special opportunity Wednesday morning.
“I actually have the opportunity to introduce Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture at a breakfast tomorrow, so that is a very awesome opportunity that I have and just the opportunity to meet with him. Yesterday we sat down with media people for media training on how to interact with legislators, these policy makers that have a huge influence on our industry.”
Troxel told HAT in the media session the young agriculturalists learned that preparedness will be the key to their success.
“We do need to be prepared to tell our story no matter when we’re called on. We need to know about our specific sectors of the industry and we need to know when to talk and when not to talk, and if we don’t know enough about an issue we need to be honest about it and maybe send whoever is asking about the issue to someone who can provide the knowledge.”
Another member of the Indiana group, which numbers a hand full, is the reigning Miss Indiana State Fair, Mariah Huff from Jackson County. She agreed with Troxel that there is a great deal of enthusiasm about telling agriculture’s story.
“I think it’s just a part of knowing that you’re something so much bigger than yourself and so much bigger than your local community,” she explained. “Agriculture affects everyone and everyone’s daily life whether they realize it or not. And that’s our hope as young individuals and young agriculturalists. We hope to promote the industry that is so impactful on our daily lives.”
She said they are indeed enthusiastic about meeting with legislators “because we are young individuals and we do have a say because we are going to be the future of agriculture and the future of our nation.”
Huff is a junior majoring in agriculture education and she is glad to be learning more about ag education funding problems in other states and the need to better communicate that funding is available here in Indiana.