(Conrad) Good morning and welcome to Farm Factor on AGam in Kansas. I’m your host Conrad Kabus. The livestock industry is faced with more problems than it has ever seen before including more political and production issues on the horizon for the industry. It seems education has never been more important. On today’s show we’ll be discussing agriculture education and its effect on youth. 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. (Sharon) Our students come in onto campus on Wednesday. They come from all over the country and we really want to give them an opportunity to get to know each other first, get to know us and welcome them here. And then we also have our students divide into small groups to work on a current events issue throughout the week and present on that at the end of the week. So we pair them with a faculty mentor. That’s one of the first things they do. We just like to get to know everyone on campus. Then we go into leadership development. We really hold leadership development and personal development to be an important part of the academy. So, we go over to the School of Leadership Studies here on campus, visit with them and get some more information about how we can develop ourselves as leaders. We also go out and tour the K-State Farms. And then the next morning, we try to get ’em in bed early, because the next morning we get up really early for a bus tour across northeast Kansas. This year we started out in Manhattan at the O.H. Kruse Feed Innovation Center here on campus. Then we went to the Kansas Department of Agriculture. We went over to Junction City to Hildebrand Dairy Farm. Then we went to Sysco Food in Olathe, Kansas, Bichelmeyer Meats in downtown Kansas City and also the American Royal while we were downtown in Kansas City. (Conrad) The goal of this academy will be to further develop young leaders within the livestock industry and prepare them for a successful future in this field. Students stay on campus in university housing with event staff for the duration of the event. (Sharon) Also we focus on agricultural advocacy. Debbie Lyons-Blythe came and spoke to us this year, the 2012 Farm Mom of the Year. And also we had a presentation about food security from Elanco Animal Health and were able to consider what it is going to take to feed the world. This afternoon we will again focus on what our individual strengths are. We’ll also spend some time going through those group projects again. We’ll go to the Veterinary College and also over to the bowling alley again to have a little fun with them while they’re here as well and then tomorrow they wrap up with their presentations and are able to share what they learned with everyone. (Conrad) Lindsey is a participant in the academy and enjoyed learning new ways to communicate with consumers, especially when it comes for farmers and ranchers being scrutinized for their certain activities on their operation. (Lindsey) My favorite workshop that we attended this week was the Agricultural Advocacy Workshop with Debbie Lyons-Blythe. And it’s just kind of nice to know that there is other ways to advocate for agriculture without getting defensive. But instead I would rather that people try to be informative. And that’s going to get you a lot farther than trying to be angry with that consumer. What they need is talk. They have a mindset and they need taught that that’s not always the way it is. (Conrad) Forty students are accepted for two sessions that run separately. Sharon has worked with the program for many years and reflects her passion for the animal science education program. (Sharon) I’ve been fortunate to work with the program since its inception seven years ago. And so, we have had more than 100 students come through our program. We have 20 students come through each session at time. The program is sponsored by the Livestock and Meat Industry Council, which really works as a passionate group of individuals who want to fund programs here at the Animal Science Department, the Animal Sciences and Industry Department at K-State. And so, we’ve been so fortunate to work with them and they care so much about the young people of Kansas and helping prepare agricultural leaders for us for the future.