Students: Here's why you should apply to become a MCGA "Agvocate"

Applications are being accepted through April 18 to become an “Agvocate” for the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA). Agvocates receive a $3,000 scholarship to be used for qualified education expenses, and will develop leadership skills while receiving first-hand experience working on issues important to corn farmers and advocating for agriculture.

For more details, including application materials, click here.

If you’re enrolled in a two- or four-year post secondary education or training program, you should consider applying to become an Agvocate. Why? Well, let’s ask a couple of current Agvocates.

Nick Peterson, University of Minnesota

About two years ago, my dad saw information about a scholarship through MCGA. He immediately passed this on to me, as he was not one to let any potential money go to waste, especially money that could help pay my college tuition.

Nick Peterson is an MCGA Agvocate.

Nick Peterson is an MCGA Agvocate.

The application he sent me was for MCGA’s “Agvocate” position. While all the necessary information was included in the application, I applied with little comprehension of what the position all entailed. As I was looking for ways to pay for school, I felt like a Human Resources worker simply looking for the keyword “scholarship.”

As I was called in for a final-round interview, though, Tim Gerlach, executive director of MCGA, let me know that this wasn’t a one-and-done pay day. Rather, I would be helping advocate for farmers and the corn growers of Minnesota throughout the year, earning my pay.

However, I soon came to realize it wouldn’t feel as though I was working in any way. Rather, I got the opportunity to network, learn, and earn a scholarship.

In participating with MCGA at events such as Farmfest, the State Fair, and the Minnesota Ag Expo, I was able to meet numerous members of the MCGA board and council. As farmers that are already proactive and outgoing by becoming involved in an organization such as MCGA, they are more than willing to chat with a youngster such as myself.

I have also been able to participate in activities like MCGA’s Day on the Hill, where I met with state legislators from my district to hear their opinions on agricultural issues.

Ultimately, I encourage any readers that can apply to become an Agvocate to do so. And tell your friends! You may find that the experience is more valuable than the scholarship.

Andrea Tomschin, South Dakota State University

For the last nine months I have been serving as one of the four MCGA Agvocates. While serving, I’ve been asked about several questions about the program. The most commonly asked question is, “What is an Agvocate?”

When I first started as an Agvocate, my answer was pretty short. It usually consisted of three points:

  1. I go to events with MCGA
  2. I talk to both farmers and consumers about corn farming
  3. I get a scholarship.

However, after serving for almost a year, my idea of what an Agvocate is has changed. I now understand that being an Agvocate is so much more than going places and getting a scholarship. This program provides an opportunity to develop skills including leadership and communication, and allows for networking within the industry while experiencing many different aspects of agriculture.

Andrea Tomschin is an MCGA Agvocate.

Andrea Tomschin is an MCGA Agvocate.

I also get asked, “Why do I do it?”

Although I am a student at South Dakota State University and am active in ag organizations on campus, I am not an agriculture major. So, if I’m not planning on pursuing a professional career in agriculture, why would I want to continue my involvement?

I’m not involved in the Agvocate program for the scholarship, although it is a nice incentive; I’m involved in it for all of the additional benefits I receive from the program. The Agvocate program has opened doors for me to continue my involvement in agriculture following my graduation from college. It has also greatly increased my knowledge about the corn industry and helped me network with other youth and professionals with a similar passion for agriculture

It is also a way that I can tell my stories to the general public, state legislatures, consumers and other producers to increase awareness about both the accomplishments and challenges that face corn farmers.

Finally, “Why should you do it?”

The Agvocate program opens the door for so many different opportunities. Maybe you enjoy working with children and want to help increase their knowledge of agriculture. Or maybe you like sharing facts via media outlets, networking with professionals with a similar interest in the corn industry or agriculture, or even just want to increase your own knowledge and help generate awareness of issues facing corn farmers.

The AGvocate program helps you do all of this and more

If any of these things interest you or someone you know, my only question is, “Why not apply for the Agvocate program? I urge this to anyone who qualifies to apply.

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You heard Nick and Andrea. Apply to be an Agvocate now!

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