In-person education is the primary focus of Commodity Classic, and the 2022 conference held in New Orleans was definitely no exception! This year’s theme —"The Future is in Your Hands!”—encapsulated the first-time experience had by NCGA’s Research Ambassadors.
The four ambassadors in attendance—Claire Menard, Alden Perkins, Dylan Schoemaker and Corey Schultz—were able to experience the trade show, talk one-on-one with growers, network with Nourish the Future teacher leaders and attend Corn Congress.
“I spend less than 14 days in a cornfield, so talking at length with farmers was eye-opening. Somewhere there is a massive disconnect between farmers and academia,” noted Corey Schultz, a graduate student from the University of Georgia. “I know the farmers here were the cream of the crop—the most active and the most forward-thinking—but I had many misconceptions about farmers dispelled.”
In its inaugural year, the Research Ambassador Program, an initiative of NCGA’s Sustainable Ag Research Action Team (SARAT), focuses on building a network of future leaders in the agricultural sector and ultimately building a stronger connection directly between the research lab and the farm field. The awardees for this academic year were selected by a panel of SARAT members.
“Not only did our Research Ambassadors get an invaluable experience, so did the growers and corn grower staff who were able to interact with them during their time at Classic,” said Nebraska corn grower and SARAT Chair Jason Lewis. “Another unforeseen benefit of the Research Ambassadors’ presence at Classic was the dynamic interaction they had with the teacher leaders from the Nourish the Future. Our SARAT members are committed to finding avenues to inspire students to consider a career in agriculture—these interactions over four days gained us great strides in that effort.”
To learn more or apply for the upcoming 2022-2023 academic year, visit: NCGA Research Ambassador Program.