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UW-Madison students gain leader skills at Agriculture Future of America Leaders Conference

Five University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Science students attended the 21st annual Agriculture Future of America (AFA) Leaders Conference in Kansas City, Mo. in early November.

800 students from 43 different states were selected to attend this event. Abagail Catania, Senior, Agricultural Business Management; Sara Griswold, Senior, Life Sciences Communication; Abigail Martin, Senior, Dairy Science; Mariah Martin, Senior, Life Sciences Communication; and Jessica Wendt, Junior, Agricultural Business Management, all attended the four-day conference.

“AFA Leaders Conference is a unique learning opportunity that prepares the next generation of agricultural students to help solve the issues that the future of agriculture will face,” said M. Martin.

From left to right: Sara Griswold, Jessica Wendt, Abigail Martin and Mariah Martin. Not pictured: Abagail Catania.

AFA is an organization dedicated to building bridges for young leaders to foster engagement and innovation in food and agriculture. AFA Leaders Conferences focuses on providing skills and opportunity to agricultural students who want to further develop their leadership skills.

AFA Leaders Conference offers four tracks for different ages of university students to attend over a four-year time period. Each track focuses on a different area of academic, leader and career development in the areas of assessment, time management, managing change and becoming life-long leaders. Track one focuses on personal assessment and career preparation and is geared toward freshman students. Track two is filled with sessions around communication and relationship-building. Catania and Wendt participated in track three gaining skills in managing change and preparing to live and work in a global marketplace. Both Abigail and Mariah Martin and Griswold participated in track four where they developed lifelong learning skills and industry awareness.

“Having attended AFA Leaders Conference each year I can confidently say I have gained skills that will prepare me for a career in agriculture along with making numerous connections with industry partners and my peers,” said Griswold.

AFA partners with agricultural communities, industries, foundations and universities who are passionate about supporting student academic, leader and career development. Wendt, Catania, Griswold, Martin and Martin were all sponsored to attend the event by industry partners.

“Giving us the forum to network, learn and interact with industry partners and top student leaders from across the U.S. is absolutely invaluable,” said Wendt.

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