Missouri’s top 30 FFA high school seniors completed the seventh annual Helping Youth Prepare for Excellence (HYPE) FFA Academy June 22-24, in Jefferson City, Mo. The three-day intensive program is designed to inform and empower students to effectively engage on pressing agriculture topics. Since 2015, the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council has sponsored and facilitated the academy in conjunction with Missouri FFA.
“Missouri Corn is proud to support the HYPE Academy and invest in the future of our industry,” said MCMC board member Jay Fischer of Jefferson City. “Having visited with the FFA students this week, I was impressed with their understanding of issues impacting agriculture and their passion for making a difference. It is clear the future is bright for these young adults, and we look forward to welcoming them to the agriculture industry after they complete their education.”
Over the three days, students participated in sessions promoting advocacy training, social media, communications, and stakeholder collaboration. In addition, discussions included overcoming adversity, developing a personal brand, and engaging those with opposing viewpoints. Students learned from farmers, industry representatives, social media experts, and others on effectively advocating on issues facing the industry. The group also explored the Missouri Soybean Center for Soy Innovation.
“HYPE is a great opportunity for students to engage in real-world agricultural issues and sharpen their leadership and advocacy skills,” noted Missouri FFA Advisor Leon Busdieker. “By sharing what they have learned when they return home, participants create a ripple effect within their chapter, strengthening the voice of members across the state.”
In culmination, participants testified on key issues during mock hearings with legislators at the Missouri State Capitol. This year’s topics included the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, estate taxes, waterway infrastructure, agriculture inspections, and eminent domain. Missouri Sens. Mike Bernskoetter (R-Jefferson City) and Barbara Washington (D-Kansas City), and State Reps. Rusty Black (R-Chillicothe), Kent Haden (R-Mexico), Greg Sharpe (R-Ewing), Sara Walsh (R-Ashland), Louis Riggs (R-Hannibal), and Tracy McCreery (D-St. Louis) interacted with and challenged the students. Missouri Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn concluded the academy by empowering participants to use their newfound skills as they continue to represent Missouri’s number one industry.
The Missouri Corn Merchandising Council is an organization of corn growers dedicated to developing and expanding corn markets, educating growers and customers, and exploring new research opportunities. The National FFA Organization makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. Contact Missouri Corn Associate Director of Communications Hilary Black at (800) 827-4181 or [email protected] for more information about HYPE Academy.