The American Soybean Association and Valent USA have partnered on the newly created Soy Leaders of the Future program, which will improve young people’s understanding of major policy issues that impact soybean farmers.
Program participants also will learn the importance of advocacy and careers that can affect agricultural policy.
The first class will be held in conjunction with the ASA Board Meeting and Soy Issues Briefing, July 10-13, in Washington, D.C.
The proportion of rural congressional districts is at its lowest point in history. An analysis of the most recent U.S. Census data, correlated with the 2012 Census of Agriculture, shows that only one of 435 districts in the U.S. House of Representatives comprises a rural population greater than 75 percent, according to data from the American Sugarbeet Growers Association.
In fact, more than half of the U.S. population currently resides in 39 of the nation’s largest cities.
As a result, positions on congressional staffs, regulatory agencies and services groups within the federal government are often filled with individuals who have a limited understanding of farming and the needs of the agriculture industry.
The new Soy Leaders of the Future program is designed to expose young people with a connection to the farm to an education on major policy issues and advocacy. The program will also encourage these future young leaders to consider careers within agriculture associations and industry, as well as government regulatory and legislative positions.
To apply for the program, students must be at least 18 years old and have an interest in learning more about advocacy and policy issues that affect U.S. soybean farmers and career opportunities in Washington, D.C. and the agriculture industry.
The program may be especially appealing to students majoring in areas of agriculture, political science, communications and business. Program sponsors will cover all travel, lodging and meal expenses for the students who selected to participate.