I was deeply humbled to have the opportunity to speak in Casper, WY, at the Poison Spider Elementary School, where I spoke to a group of elementary and middle school students during a school assembly. In addition, I addressed the Casper FFA Chapter Annual Banquet. This particular chapter has had great success, combining community service, fun activities, scholarship, leadership and achievement into a spectacular year. The chapter qualified 20 of its members to head to nationals . Congratulations, Casper FFA!
In recapping the highlights of the students’ year, Casper FFA Advisor Brock Burch also shared a few comments about the importance of agriculture education.
"Education requirements push teachers to add rigor to the classroom; homework, tests and course work has to be tough these days. To me, rigor isn't the only important factor. How about we make our classrooms relevant to the real world? That's what agriculture education does for young people; it provides the rigor of science, math, technology and communication skills with lessons they can apply to their future careers. Many agriculture education programs are being cut, and that's a shame. Rigor and relevancy are both keys to success," says Burch, to a round of applause.
I couldn't agree more with Burch, and it was refreshing to see so many young people excited about careers in agriculture. It will become increasingly important for all of us to encourage today's youth to pursue these opportunities and know that the sky is the limit when it comes to jobs in the food industry. Reach out to a young person in your community sometime soon; you never know what your encouragement and advice might mean to that individual.
I would also like to take a minute to thank the folks who have supported me in my speaking and writing career lately. In addition to a radio interview on Dakota Trails and Tales with Trent Loos, my work has been featured in a couple of publications in the last few weeks, and I thought I would share them with you today.
My 5 Favorite Fellow Farm Girls  by Celeste Laurent
Midwest Media Montage: Amanda Radke Agriculture Writer and Speaker  by Nicki Stevens
Radio Spotlight on Agriculture Advocacy  with Ashton Teal
Finally, don't forget today is the final day to send me your best photograph for the BEEF Daily Cowgirls and Cattlewomen Photography Contest. Link here  for contest rules and details, and check out the growing gallery of photos here .