College students participating in the Kansas Corn Collegiate Academy are returning to fall classes with valuable experiences from a week in the nation’s capitol. The Collegiate Academy joined Kansas Corn leaders in Washington D.C. in July for Corn Congress and other meetings. The Academy is a select group of seven Kansas college students who are learning more about corn and how the corn industry can impact their future careers. The Collegiate Academy’s trip coincided with the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress, a semi-annual delegate session for the organization. The group participated in NCGA action team meetings, attended the delegate session and visited Kansas congressional offices with leaders from the Kansas Corn Growers Association and Kansas Corn Commission.
The group benefited from meetings with a cross section of agriculture influencers. Focusing on trade, Academy members met with leaders from the US Grains Council, US Meat Export Federation and Chief Ag Negotiator, Ambassador Gregg Doud. Learning about agricultural policy, the students met with FSA Director Richard Fordyce and USDA Undersecretary Bill Northey. Academy students met with industry professionals including Syngenta, to better understand how the agriculture industry works in Washington D.C.
“We provided the Collegiate Academy members with a variety of experiences and were lucky to be able to set up meetings with some of the top ag policy decision-makers in DC,” according to Kansas Corn Director of Industry Relations Stacy Mayo-Martinez.
K-State student Gracie Danner, of West Liberty, Iowa, said the trip was beneficial to her future endeavors.
“Attending Corn Congress in Washington D.C. allowed me to see the impact and direct connection between trade and policy on agriculture first hand,” she said. “Being able to learn from professionals in the agricultural industry gave me a great insight to future career paths and the range and reach this industry can provide a young professional.”
Trent Frye, Belleville said the experience gave him a new perspective on trade.
“All I’ve known is loading corn on a truck and taking it to the elevator. Learning about the role that Kansas corn actually plays in the world market was eye opening,” said Fry, a senior agronomy major at Kansas State University.
Keren Duerksen, Newton, who is a senior in agronomy at K-State, said the meetings broadened her understanding of agriculture and trade.
“I didn’t expect to get such a big picture,” Duerksen said. “We learned about trade, heard different opinions and disagreements on NAFTA and got a glimpse of corn in all forms.”
Kansas Corn is accepting applications for Class 2 of the Kansas Corn Collegiate Academy. Kansas college students enrolled in 2-year or 4-year post-secondary schools are eligible to apply. The academy is part of Kansas Corn’s collegiate programs aimed at providing opportunities and information to Kansas college students. For more information visit kscorn.com/collegiate.