ST. LOUIS – The American Soybean Association (ASA) and Valent USA are pleased to announce the Soy Leaders of the Future program, a new opportunity for young people interested in improving their understanding of major policy issues that impact soybean farmers, the importance of advocacy, and careers that can impact agricultural policy. The first class will take place this summer and will be held in conjunction with the ASA Board Meeting and Soy Issues Briefing, July 10-13, 2017, in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. agriculture industry needs more leaders in Washington, D.C. who understand the needs of farmers and the agriculture industry, especially as it relates to the development of policies and regulations that impact farm productivity. 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 is comprised of a rural population greater than 75 percent.* 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 very limited understanding of farming and the needs of the agriculture industry.
The new Soy Leaders of the Future program, sponsored by Valent and ASA, 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 Soy Leaders of the Future program, students must be at least 18 years old and have an interest in learning more about advocacy and policy issues that impact U.S. soybean farmers and career opportunities in Washington, D.C. and the agriculture industry. This program may be especially appealing to students majoring in a various areas of agriculture, political science, communications and business. Program sponsors will cover all travel, lodging and meal expenses for the students who are selected for this program.