(Lincoln, NE) – FFA members across Nebraska participated in the fourth annual Agricultural Issues Academy (AIA) on April 9th as part of the 2014 Nebraska State FFA Convention held in Lincoln. AIA is a leadership-based academy that focuses on providing participants with skills needed to become spokespeople for the agriculture industry. The day-long program exposed participants to current agriculture issues, develop communication skills, and provide an opportunity to meet with industry leaders and law makers.
“Programs like Ag Issues Academy are a great way to involve young people in the political process and encourage networking with their peers while learning about current issues facing agriculture,” said Kelsey Pope, Director of Advocacy and Outreach for the Nebraska Corn Board and committee member for the Agricultural Issues Academy. “This is a great opportunity for FFA members to develop communications skills through hands-on activities and help them make connections with industry leaders and law makers,” said Pope.
Participants were selected from a pool of 80 qualified applicants from across Nebraska and were narrowed down by a selection committee to 30 participants. Selected candidates were charged with a task to a research current “ag” issue of their choice and be prepared to explain the issue at the academy.
At the Agricultural Issues Academy participants were a part of the following activities:
- Round-robin sessions presented by experts on learning how to speak to lawmakers, preparing a successful and positive message for TV and radio, and have firsthand training for written and online communications.
- A visit to the State Capitol, accompanied by agriculture lobbyists who introduced participants to the State Legislature, and provided an opportunity for them to meet with the senator from their home district.
- The following day, academy participants served as peer leaders for the state convention’s annual legislative breakfast with State Senators and other FFA members.
- Participants were recognized and awarded pins for participating in the academy at the Opening Session of the Nebraska State FFA Convention on Thursday morning.
The Agricultural Issues Academy is sponsored by Alliance for Agriculture in Nebraska (A-FAN), Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, Nebraska Association of Resource Districts Foundation, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Soybean Board, and Nebraska Pork Producers Association.