Missouri Corn And FFA Members Create Agriculture HYPE

Posted on: June 30, 2023

(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.)–Thirty high school seniors from across Missouri completed the ninth annual Helping Youth Prepare for Excellence (HYPE) FFA Academy June 27-29 in Jefferson City, Mo. Sponsored by the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, the three-day academy is designed to inform and empower agriculture students to effectively engage in issues impacting today’s industry.

“These FFA members have the potential to be the next leaders in agriculture,” notes MCMC Chairman Brent Hoerr. “So much of our success is now tied to being able to engage in the tough conversations and issues that have the potential to help or hurt growers. Whether it be friends, neighbors, strangers online, or decision-makers, being able to tell our story and share our concerns is vital. Today’s HYPE Academy helps students hone those skills and prepare them to be the voice of rural Missouri as they head into college and their careers.”

Students learned how to effectively talk about their experiences in farming, overcome obstacles, and develop their communication and personal skills. Learning sessions included advocacy training, communication basics, and social media outreach. Students hear from farmers, industry representatives, social media influencers, and Congressman Mark Alford on how to effectively advocate on issues. The group also toured the Missouri Soybean Center for Innovation to learn more about the advancements and research being done on behalf of farmers.

Wrapping up the academy, participants put their skills into action during mock legislative hearings at the Missouri State Capitol. Students presented key issues to Missouri Sen. Barbara Washington and State Reps. Willard Haley, Jim Schulte, Emily Weber, Ashley Aune, Peggy McGaugh, and Doyle Justus. Students also had the chance to meet with Missouri Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn.

“This is a great opportunity for our members to gain confidence, and put another tool in their advocacy toolbox,” noted Missouri FFA State Advisor Keith Dietzschold. “As seniors, these students are in a unique position to tell their story to a much broader audience in the next few years. We know these tools will not only serve them well, but agriculture as a whole and are grateful Missouri Corn continues to support this opportunity for students to grow.”

The Missouri Corn Merchandising Council is an organization of corn growers dedicated to developing and expanding corn markets, educating growers and customers, and exploring new research opportunities. Learn more at www.mocorn.org. The National FFA Organization makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. Learn more about the HYPE Academy by contacting Missouri Corn Associate Director of Communications Hilary Black at (573) 893-4181 or hblack@mocorn.org

Downloadable media assets for this article:

Right-click the link and choose "Save as." Captions for the photos are provided.

Photo Downloads

HYPE 2023

Click here for larger image.

Photo Caption: Thirty Missouri FFA members gathered in Jefferson City June 27-29 for the ninth annual Helping Youth Prepare for Excellence (HYPE) Academy. Sponsored by the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, the three-day event focuses on advocacy and honing skills to be stronger voices for the agriculture industry.

Photo Credit: Missouri FFA HYPE Academy

Download high-res "HYPE 2023" photo

HYPE 23 Testimony

Click here for larger image.

Photo Caption: HYPE Academy members rounded out their three-day advocacy training by participating in mock hearings in the Missouri State Capitol. Pictured: California FFA member Chase Schlup provides testimony to (l-r) Rep. Emily Weber, Rep. Willard Haley, and Rep. Jim Schulte.

Photo Credit: Missouri Corn

Download high-res "HYPE 23 Testimony" photo