Ken Odde

(Conrad) Good morning and welcome to Farm Factor on AGam in Kansas. I’m your host Conrad Kabus. Today we continue our story with the K-State Animal Sciences Leadership Academy, which is an intensive four-day educational experience designed to enhance the leadership skills and animal science knowledge of high school students. The program’s itinerary features interactive workshops, tours and faculty mentors. Ken Odde is the Department Head of Animal Sciences and Industry at Kansas State and speaks on the academy. (Ken) The Animal Sciences Leadership Academy has been a really important addition to our programming in the area of youth education. As I look at the mission of our department we really have a three-fold mission, it’s research, teaching and extension. And we do lots of activities in the area of education, particularly with youth, through 4-H and a variety of other activities. This particular program focuses on leadership. And particularly leadership as it applies to the livestock industry. And I think combining the leadership training with education about the livestock industry and I think it’s been a huge step forward for our department in providing education to young people. (Conrad) Hosted by the K-State Department of Animal Sciences and Industry and sponsored by the Livestock and Meat Industry Council, the academy’s goal is to develop young leaders within the livestock industry and prepare them for a successful future in the field. (Ken) The way I would actually describe this is clearly some of these students will ultimately become students here at Kansas State University. But I view that as a by-product of the program and certainly not the direct mission of the program. The direct mission of the program is really to provide the education and training to these young people to help them develop and help them grow and ultimately be leaders in this industry. And I think that’s the primary value. That’s what we’re mostly interested in is helping young people develop and grow. (Conrad) Throughout the week, participants worked in teams to evaluate current events within the animal sciences industry and educated others. This experience will end with team presentations and a closing reception on Saturday morning. (Ken) The activity that I think that I most enjoy, plus I think is particularly beneficial to students is in teams, working in teams, they are assigned a topic or they choose from a list of topics that are really current issues in animal agriculture. They have to research those topics, and together develop a presentation that they will give then to judges and that’s actually a really big, positive. In fact, some of the judges are board members from our Livestock and Meat Industry Council. And that is the organization that actually funds and supports this program as well.

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