Animal sciences junior Emily Smith isn’t the typical major one would expect to attend the National Young Farmer Educational Association Agriculture’s Promise Program in Washington, D.C.
The program, which was held March 4-6, is centered on connecting collegiate students, members of NYFEA and government officials to hold conversations about the importance of agricultural education and the need to support it both legally and financially.
Though Smith is on a pre-veterinarian track through the University of Missouri and CAFNR, she is passionate about future agricultural education and the important role it plays in agriculture.
“If this is what we are putting our whole future into, we have the opportunity to also impact what that future looks like once we get there,” Smith said.
It was this passion for agricultural education and her “why not” attitude that pushed Smith, a Jackson, Missouri native, to apply for the program.
The program began with a day dedicated to learning more about the legislative process and legislative visits, as well as crafting talking points for the program attendees’ meetings scheduled on Capitol Hill the next day.
Smith shared her passion for agricultural education, why she believes in its future and some concerns she has for it with her legislators.
Even though she went through the program, Smith’s biggest takeaway was that she realized she wouldn’t have had to in order to have a role in the legislative process.
“Anyone can go and meet with their officials or send an email,” Smith said. “Anyone can be a part of making sure that agriculture is continued to be protected as a part of our future.”
She said she has a personal responsibility to take part in the conversation surrounding agriculture that happens in the Capitol since she is an animal sciences and CAFNR student.
This was Smith’s first trip to Washington, D.C., and she plans on using this experience in the future as she hopes to one day do international work as a veterinarian.
Smith is a 2016 graduate of Jackson High School, and her parents are Mark and Anita Smith.
Students interested in participating in the Agriculture’s Promise Program should contact Jarred Lewis, Missouri’s NYFEA Representative and express interest. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, students can apply to be Mizzou’s representative when the information is released by CAFNR next February.