COLLEGE STATION – The Farmers Fight organization at Texas A&M University hosted the inaugural National Agricultural Advocacy Conference held on Oct. 4-6, 2013, on the Texas A&M campus in College Station.
Forty-five agricultural student leaders from thirteen universities came together to discuss the future of the agriculture industry and the students’ role. The student advocates discussed industry challenges and discovered ways in which students can make a positive difference within agriculture. Universities in attendance at the conference included: Angelo State University, Auburn University, Chattahoochee Valley Community College, Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University, Purdue University, Sam Houston State University, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, University of Arkansas, University of California – Davis, University of Maryland and Utah State University.
Dr. Bowen Loftin, president of Texas A&M University, welcomed students to Aggieland for the two-day conference that included keynote speakers representing a wide variety of agriculture topics: Dr. Clare Gill, professor of animal genomics and associate vice president for diversity at Texas A&M; Dr. Elsa Murano, interim director of the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M; Dr. Edward McGruder, Elanco Animal Health; and Dr. Gary Briers, professor in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications at Texas A&M.
In addition to hearing from the faculty and industry experts, students shared and exchanged ideas with each other in roundtable discussion groups. The topics of the discussion groups included animal welfare; food safety; fuel; hunger and food waste; meeting consumer demand, retail and marketing; urban farms, organic and conventional farming; sustainability; water rights and policy. The discussion groups were facilitated by nine industry leaders and faculty from Texas A&M.
“The conference built a network of students who share a common passion for agriculture and agricultural advocacy,” said Victoria Pilger, animal science major and Farmers Fight executive director. “This networking opportunity allowed students to share ideas and support one another in their efforts to bridge the gap between the consumer and the agriculturist through agriculture advocacy at their respective collegiate campuses.”
Farmers Fight is a student-led initiative within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. It is comprised of three components: community outreach, campus connection and advocate development. The National Agricultural Advocacy Conference was introduced this year by Farmers Fight to unite student organizations on a national level who share a similar goal as Farmers Fight.
For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Courtney Coufal at firstname.lastname@example.org or (979) 845-1542.