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Missouri FFA members discuss current ag issues at HYPE Academy

Thirty Missouri FFA members testified before state lawmakers last week in a mock legislative hearing as part of the Helping Youth Prepare for Excellence (HYPE) academy.

Students presented either for or against ag issues including trade, tariffs, labeling of laboratory meat and crop insurance as it relates to the 2018 Farm Bill.

Marlena Long of Paris, Missouri tells Brownfield the academy taught her to advocate through learning, connecting and sharing.

“First, we have to learn about the topics in agriculture that people may have issues with. Then, we have to connect to the people we are talking to, making sure we are addressing that they are issues to them and they have an emotional connection to that issue. Finally, we have to share our story.”

Hilary Black, Communications Director for the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council who helped organize the event, tells Brownfield each issue is equally important.

“These issues are very complex, very timely and they have the opportunity to be very impactful for farmers, not only today, but down the road as well. These issues are going to impact whether or not these kids can go back to the farm.”

The students spent two days networking with lobbyists, agriculture professionals and social media experts to learn the most effective ways to communicate the story of agriculture.

The academy started in 2015 and was designed for incoming high school seniors to engage in current agricultural issues.

Audio: Interview with Marlena Long

Audio: Interview with Hilary Black

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