WSU selected for national leadership honor

AFA logoPULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University is one of three universities nationwide chosen for student leadership training in food and agriculture careers from the Agriculture Future of America (AFA) society.

Under the University Growth Initiative, the WSU College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) has received funding to send three students and an administrator to the AFA leadership conference Nov. 7-10 in Kansas City, Mo. They must apply by Sept. 18.

Additionally, interested undergraduates studying an agriculture-related field are encouraged to apply by Sept. 6 for conference sponsorship ($1,000 value) from AFA’s industry partners. Applications and more information are available at

“AFA provides an excellent portal for us to access valuable industry partners on a national scale,” said Katie Nickels, CAHNRS internship coordinator.  She said this will be a good opportunity to expose WSU students to agriculture in different sectors of the United States.

In addition, “We also provide a unique opportunity for AFA to extend its reach into the Pacific Northwest,” she said.

WSU’s “unique perspectives will add to the depth of discussion and engagement in our program environment,” said Russ Weathers, AFA president and CEO.

The conference draws more than 500 top agriculture students from across the nation. It focuses on soft skill development to complement what is provided on campus and in the classroom.
“The student mentoring philosophies of CAHNRS and AFA align very well, and our likeminded commitment to the advancement of agriculture through development of the next generation of leaders in the industry makes this an ideal partnership,” Nickels said. “The conference and AFA leader institutes complement the leader development activities supported through the Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership in CAHNRS.”
As a four-track program, the AFA conference offers learning opportunities that complement the student’s year in college. Track 1 focuses on industry and self-assessment and assists freshman students with developing fundamental soft skills crucial for success in college and their careers. Track 2 equips sophomores with communication skills.

Track 3 prepares juniors and seniors to live and work in a global market and manage change. Track 4 is a capstone experience for seniors who have attended Track 3. Focusing on lifelong learning, it is a highly interactive, participant-directed program that includes extensive executive mentoring opportunities.

Delegates gain valuable experiences and relationships through opportunities to network with each other and industry professionals. The conference boasts a 3:1 student to industry professional ratio. An opportunity fair, held in conjunction with conference, connects students to internship, job, study abroad and graduate school opportunities.

For more conference information, please visit

The University Growth initiative is supported by Monsanto Company.

Since 1997, AFA has provided scholarships and leader training to collegiate students pursuing careers in agriculture. The group’s anchor personal and professional development event is the national leaders conference.

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. For more information about AFA, visit