Missouri’s top 30 FFA high school seniors completed the Fifth Annual Helping Youth Prepare for Excellence FFA Academy in Columbia last week.
Top 30 FFA high school seniors from area schools include Anna Milazzo of Grundy County R-5, Montana Faith Plattner of Chillicothe, Kylee Marie Baker and Kasey Waterman of Meadville, Luke Vaughn of Marceline, and Sally Schmidt of Carrollton.
The three-day HYPE program is designed to inform and empower students to effectively engage in pressing agriculture topics. Students participated in sessions promoting advocacy training, social media, communication, and stakeholder collaboration. Other topics included overcoming adversity, developing a personal brand, and engaging those with opposing viewpoints.
Participants learned from farmers, industry representatives, social media experts, and others on how to advocate about issues facing the industry. The group explored the Missouri Soybean Farm and its crop production, research, and soybean biotechnology.
Participants testified on key issues during mock hearings with legislators at the Missouri State Capitol on topics including tariffs and trade, eminent domain, lab-produced meat labeling, river management, and the Federal Renewable Fuel Standard.
Missouri State senators and representatives, including area Representative Rusty Black of Chillicothe, interacted with and challenged the students.
Missouri Corn Chief Executive Officer Gary Marshall provided the closing keynote and encouraged students to use their newfound skills as they continue to represent Missouri’s number one industry.
The Missouri Corn Merchandising Council has sponsored and facilitated the academy since 2015 in conjunction with Missouri FFA. The University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources hosted this year’s HYPE FFA Academy.