Image courtesy of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Foundation

The National Society for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Foundation are excited to host the 2024 Agriculture Policy Summit, a dynamic conference held from Feb. 4-7 that is designed to foster diversity in agricultural government affairs and industry leadership.

Now in its fifth year, the summit provides selected undergraduate and graduate students with a comprehensive introduction to federal agriculture policies and the leaders who shape them. This year's cohort will attend NASDA’s Winter Policy Conference events, hear from U.S. Department of Agriculture officials and learn about international agricultural issues during a tour of the Canadian Embassy.

"The Agriculture Policy Summit offers the unique opportunity for minority college students to explore agricultural careers," said NASDA Foundation senior director Chris Jones. “The summit also includes state departments of agriculture in roundtables and hands-on discussions to engage with the students and learn how to best adapt agricultural educational experiences for future generations of students. Energizing and empowering the next generation of diverse agricultural leaders is critical to ensuring that all communities can equitably participate in and shape our country’s food systems.”

Since its launch in 2020, over 75 students have attended the summit. The collaboration between MANRRS, NASDA and the NASDA Foundation, marked by a five-year memorandum of understanding, seeks to increase diversity in agricultural leadership. Along with partnering to host the summit, the NASDA Foundation connects minority college students with career opportunities at various state departments of agriculture, and MANRRS advises NASDA on best practices for advancing diversity in the agricultural field.

“Through the collaborative efforts of MANRRS, NASDA and the NASDA Foundation, the Agriculture Policy Summit is a transformative and engaging event, illuminating pathways for underrepresented students to explore agricultural policy careers and contribute to shaping the future of our nation’s food systems,” said MANRRS COO Ebony Webber. “Together, we cultivate inclusion, knowledge and empowerment for the NOW generation of leaders in agriculture, natural resources and related sciences. As we convene in DC, we are on a mission to empower the NOW generation, offering insights into federal and state agriculture policies, fostering engagement with industry leaders and cultivating a sustainable future.”

The 2024 Agriculture Policy Summit participants:

Arogeanae Brown, Virginia Tech, Agriculture Education

Carvis Campbell III, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Related Sciences

Janna Chapman, University of Maryland College Park, Related Sciences

Julia Edwards, Utah State University, Information Systems

Elijah Edwards, North Carolina A&T State University, Agricultural Business

Oluwatosin Benjamin Fakunle, Purdue University, Agriculture Education

Lailah Hall, Florida A&M University, Agricultural Business

Jashala Hoke, North Carolina A&T State University, Agricultural Business

Madison Kelly, Fort Valley State University, Agricultural Economics

Tama Lee, Rutgers University, Agricultural Systems

Aria McElroy, Tennessee State University, Agriculture Science

Makeda Nurradin, Auburn University, Agriculture Education

Josephine Nyame, Tuskegee University, Agricultural Economics

Favour Ojike, Purdue University, Agriculture Communications

Logan Quinn, The Pennsylvania State University

Mateo Rull Garza, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Entomology

Demikia Taylor, Virginia Tech, Agriculture Education

Brandon Thompson, Auburn University, Agriculture Education

Morgan White, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Agriculture Science