Agriculture Future of America is a student-run organization that prepares its delegates for the professional workforce. Breanne Brammer, senior in science and agricultural journalism, and Jake Hirniak, junior in agricultural economics and plant sciences, are two of 26 students from across the country who were selected to be on AFA’s Student Leader Team.
They have both been involved with the organization in past years, and after continually being accepted to the program, they are now on the Student Advisory Team. Being on this team entails monthly visits to Kansas City as well as monthly conference calls with the rest of their team, who collectively represent eight different universities.
There are nine members on the Student Advisory Team, and their main job is to carry out the annual Leaders Conference. Students interested in AFA are required to apply to the program each year, and about half are accepted to attend the Leaders Conference. Typically, about 50 MU students are selected to attend.
Aside from facilitating the conference, the Student Advisory team also worked with AFA throughout the summer. They had the opportunity to attend meetings in Colorado, Indiana and Illinois where they met with representatives from Dow AgroSciences, John Deere, GrowMark, and several other agricultural companies, who later attend their Leaders Conference as well.
Although Brammer and Hirniak are members of the Student Advisory Team, they also serve as Campus Ambassadors for MU. Part of their duties are to cultivate a relationship between AFA and campus students and faculty members.
They are continually trying to reach out to CAFNR faculty to help spread the word about their organization. “I think the faculty are a key point when you’re trying to reach students to apply to the conference,” says Brammer. If the faculty is aware of AFA, then they can encourage their students to apply. Therefore, they do their best to maintain the relationships that AFA has with current faculty, but broaden their reach as well.
“If you are a leader, and you want to be a better leader, AFA is what you want to be in,” says Hirniak. Through collaborating with peers, industry representatives and campus faculty, they have been able to build on their leadership skills and gain a substantial amount of work experience as well.
“AFA isn’t a leadership conference. It’s a leader’s conference,” says Brammer. She said they hope many more future agriculture leaders will continue to apply from MU.