The University of Missouri Animal Sciences Youth Leadership Academy returned in 2017 with a focus on teaching high school students more about the livestock industry.
The four-day academy allowed an opportunity for networking with industry leaders. The goal of the program is to provide leadership development opportunities for youth in agriculture.
The academy is a partnership between MU Extension, the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the MU Division of Animal Sciences. Last year was the first year of the Animal Sciences Youth Leadership Academy.
“We had another excellent group of students,” said David Hoffman, a livestock specialist with MU Extension. “The evaluations we received back were very positive, and each student took a lot from the academy.”
Hoffman and Marcia Shannon, an animal science professor, created the program last year to connect high school students with industry leaders, showcasing the variety of opportunities for students after they leave high school.
“Being able to communicate with industry professionals was really the driving force behind this academy,” Hoffman said. “The students get to see the opportunities that are out there. It’s a tremendous opportunity to connect and build a network.”
The first day of the academy included tours of two CAFNR facilities – the Foremost Dairy Research Center and the Poultry Farm. The students also met with individuals from Missouri Pork Producers, Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri Soybean Association. The second day included tours of Triumph Foods and Biozyme, Inc., both in St. Joseph, and a visit with Osborn Barr, a prominent agriculture marking firm in Kansas City.
The third day found the students at the South Farm Research Center, where they toured the equine teaching facility and swine farm.
The final day allowed the students to take the stage, as the 20 students were split into four groups to give presentations to a panel of judges. The presentations were focused on the issues facing livestock and livestock production.
“The group presentations were designed to have students develop skills on how to communicate very difficult subject matters in the livestock industry, such as eating read meat, livestock confinement, antibiotic use and biotechnology,” Shannon said.
The following students participated in the program: Carly Baumhoer, Auxvasse; Mark Cooley, St. Charles; Taylor Cope, Martinsburg; Mathilda Eckstein, Beaufort; Rayne Faulconer, Warsaw; Shea Fitzgerald, Holden; Nicole Goellner, Monroe City; Katy Grant, Carrollton; Audrey Howe, Edina; Megan Kammerich, Boonville; Ethan Kohl, Harrisonville; Lani Ogle, Sarcoxie; Alyssa Pulley, Brunswick; Courtney Shockley, Higginsville; Ryan Spurling, Mexico; Sarah Stalker, Independence; Kyleigh Sulkowski, Ste. Genevieve; Emma Thoeni, Carrollton; Kinley Tucker, Cabool; Lindzee Wilson, Higbee.
For a closer look at one of the stops during the academy, click here.