Agriculture Students Advancing Advocacy Through Pilot Program
June 28, 2021
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Crandall
Paving a way for growth in agricultural advocacy, Sam Houston State University is working with Texas Farm Bureau and four other Texas colleges and universities to establish a statewide Collegiate Farm Bureau program. The Collegiate Farm Bureau is a program that serves TFB’s mission of being the voice of Texas agriculture through supporting and engaging students.
“The Collegiate Farm Bureau’s purpose is to support students that are engaged in agriculture, enhance their education, and help develop future leaders within Texas Farm Bureau or the agriculture community,” said TFB Director of Organization Whit Weems.
The first charter was issued to West Texas A&M University, and Sam Houston State became the second to buy into the idea and charter a program in March 2021.
Members of the program can attend the annual American Farm Bureau Convention, as well as the Texas Young Farmer & Rancher Conference held every spring. As part of the YF&R conference, students are given the opportunity to participate in a collegiate discussion meet that is meant to be a simulation of what may happen in a board room meeting discussing agriculture issues.
Fall Tour is another activity that all members of the program are encouraged to participate in. This event focuses on educating young individuals on agriculture topics in a specific area within the state each year. In addition to the education and networking provided through Collegiate Farm Bureau, there are opportunities for students to earn scholarships through the program.
“Our goal is to provide resources and a network for students engaged in the collegiate program to advocate for agriculture,” Weems said. “There will be flexibility for these chapters to prioritize the activities they engage in and what direction they want to take it.”
The Sam Houston State charter helps members learn to promote political advocacy and learn about agriculture in general by traveling to TFB’s annual events, attending district meetings to learn about local farms and ranches, and hosting their own monthly meetings.
“This all ties Texas Farm Bureau and our Collegiate Farm Bureau charter because we are learning about how to help promote education and political advocacy for farmers and ranchers,” said Jerin Milam, president of the Sam Houston State University Collegiate Farm Bureau chapter.
Sam Houston State’s Collegiate Farm Bureau consists of seven officers who are actively recruiting new members. These students all possess an agricultural background and are majoring in an agricultural degree. However, it is not a requirement that members major in agriculture or come from an agricultural background.
“We have seen lots of interest from students,” Milam said. “Our officers have been attending the Student Organization Fair to spark new interest in students.”
When becoming a member of Sam Houston State’s Collegiate Farm Bureau, students can also become a member of TFB. This provides numerous benefits to young professionals beginning their career in agriculture.
“I really hope this organization can continue to work closely with the Texas Farm Bureau,” Milam said. “I hope we will be able to continue learning about agriculture and political advocacy, as well as network with professional in the industry.”
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