WET Lab Hosts Student Leaders from Agriculture Future of America
[In photo] From L to R: Kaomine Vang, Project Manager for the International Center for Water Technology (ICWT) at Fresno State; Caroline Wheil, The Ohio State University; Michael Carlson, South Dakota State University; Casey Droddy, Kansas State University; Shotika Smith, Colorado State University; Katie Beason, Texas A&M University; Kayla Petree, University of Missouri; Seth Erwin, The Ohio State University; Joe Rust, Purdue University; Dan Clawson, ICWT Project Manager.
Agriculture Future of America’s nine-member Student Advisory Team toured the Water, Energy and Technology (WET) Lab at California State University, Fresno on 11 June 2013 as part of a visit to California to learn more about West Coast agriculture.
Touring the WET Lab and other area agribusinesses served to broaden the college students’ perceptions of agriculture. They will lean upon this knowledge as they plan the annual AFA Leaders Conference, which will draw over 550 of their peers to Kansas City, Mo., this November.
Student Advisory Team members say it is important for them to see the broader scope of agriculture so they can address a wide variety of perspectives as they plan the national professional and personal development conference.
“When you talk about agriculture, you think about what you know. However, water supply, climate and regulations make agriculture very different from coast to coast and even from state to state,” said Seth Erwin, student advisor from The Ohio State University.
The team, with members representing eight states, is able to learn from each other as well as from their summer travels which are taking them to North Carolina and St. Louis, Mo., in addition to Fresno.
The students’ visit to the WET Center enhanced their understanding of West Coast water issues and how researchers are working to address these challenges with cutting edge technology.
“Seeing the work that is being done at the WET Center changed some of my perceptions of water usage. I am confident and excited about the future of agriculture as the industry works toward applying cutting-edge technology to feed our growing population,” said Joe Rust, student advisor from Purdue University.
In addition to the WET Center, the team visited Terranova Ranch in Helm on June 9 followed by visits on June 10 with business owners and farms in the Madera-Fresno-Visalia area, including Diepersloot Ranch in Madera, Porterville Citrus in Terra Bella, Horizon Nut in Tulare, and Kingsburg Orchards. Bank of the West coordinated and hosted the tours.
AFA’s mission is to create partnerships that identify, encourage and support outstanding college men and women who are preparing for careers in the agriculture and food industry. With student participation increasing 70 percent in the last five years, AFA leader development programs have impacted 9,000 college leaders and young professionals from more than 200 colleges and universities throughout 43 states since its inception in 1996. AFA has awarded more than $8 million in academic and leader development scholarships.