March 19, 2019, marked the 46th annual National Ag Day, a day that recognizes and celebrates the contribution of agriculture in our everyday lives.
Ten 4‑H alumni, ages 18-22, from land grant universities across the U.S., had the unique opportunity to attend a customized day of programming focused on food and agriculture thanks to Bayer’s Science Matters partnership with 4‑H.
Bayer’s generous sponsorship allowed the 4‑H students to arrive in Washington, D.C. a few days before National Ag Day for an exclusive Bayer Prelude event that provided a day of leadership training covering topics ranging from government affairs and policy to shaping public opinions through social media. All the sessions were designed to provide 4‑H youth leaders with the tools to become skilled advocates for today’s agriculture. Following the Bayer Prelude Event, the 4‑Hers joined 90 other students for an Ag Day Student training and visits to the Hill to discuss issues relevant to today’s agriculture.
Grace Baxter, a sophomore at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas commented that it was one thing to come to Washington D.C. for National Ag Day, but it was a whole other journey to be a part of the 4‑H Bayer Prelude event. “Over the two-day period of the Bayer Prelude, I learned so much more than I could have ever imagined. I learned how to effectively communicate with legislative entities, how to better share my agriculture stories and how to build and maintain professional relationships.”
Another attendee, Samantha Maybury, a sophomore attending the University of Florida, walked away from the experience understanding that every voice matters. “I felt so small walking up the steps to the U.S. Capitol. I thought to myself, ‘I’m just one of thousands of people these legislators meet with. Does my voice even matter?’ Ag Day taught me that my voice does matter. Every meeting with a legislator or their staff is a chance for them to put a face to agriculture. A bunch of small voices put together equals a powerful voice.”
Not only did attendees have the opportunity to learn from leaders in government, agriculture and communications but they also had the chance to build relationships with other aspiring agriculture leaders.
“I found the nine other 4‑H delegates to be inspiring with their upbeat attitudes, and due diligence advocating for agriculture,” said Gabriel Doherty, a junior at New Mexico State University.