Three dairy science students attend national conference for leaders in agriculture

Dairy Science Sophomore Elizabeth Endres and Freshmen Sara Griswold and Abigail Martin attended last weekend’s Agriculture Future of America (AFA) Leaders Conference in Kansas City, MO. They joined four other CALS students Luke Drachenberg, Taylor Holterman, Kate Griswold and Abagail Catania.

“AFA is a great experience for anyone whether you are an ag business major or a dairy science major,” Endres shared. “The sessions provide valuable tools for personal, professional, and leadership development. The conference also provides numerous opportunities to network with students from across the country that share the same passion for agriculture as well as industry professionals. “

AFA is a leadership and career development organization focused on growing college student’s professional skills and network connections in agriculture. Started in 1996, AFA was a vision of R. Crosby Kemper, Jr. and other leaders in agriculture in the Kansas City area. The Leaders Conference is held there every November to foster this personal and professional growth in college students originally envisioned by R. Crosby Kemper, Jr. AFA, its Leaders Conference and Institutes are experiencing great success as the organization’s reputation of providing premier agricultural career development for college students spreads across the nation’s campuses and among the students themselves.

“AFA was an outstanding opportunity for me. I not only learned skills to be a better leader in the agriculture industry, but I also got to grow my network,” Griswold said. “Having a passion for what you do in your career was one of the biggest takeaway messages for me. I hope to attend again in the coming years, as it was one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended.”

Nearly 600 students from 92 schools around the U.S. attended the conference this year. The students are broken up into “tracks” that provide specific training tailored to their number of years in school. Endres participated in track 2 which focused on communications and employment preparation. Griswold and Martin developed their skills for college and career success and grew their industry knowledge in track 1.

“As a freshman, it can be intimidating and sometimes scary to not know what you are going to do with the rest of your life in four short years, however, after attending AFA I feel much more reassured about my future career and the opportunities available for employment in the field of agriculture,” Martin explains.

Sponsorships for the students to attend AFA were provided by AFA and its partners. The students would like to thank WALSAA for providing the transportation.

To hear more about the insights and students’ experiences at AFA Leaders Conference, check out #AFALC14 and #WIAFA on Twitter. You can also visit for more information.