By: Micah Mensing, Agriscience Education | Oak Harbor, OH
I always appreciate the opportunity to travel, meet new people, and learn something new, and that is exactly what I got to do while attending the Agriculture Future of America Conference. Each year students from Ohio State apply to attend AFA, an intensive leadership conference held in Kansas City, Missouri. The conference’s goal is to allow every student that attends to learn something completely new about themselves and how to become a better leader, so that students can continue to build on their skills sets until they graduate from their respected university. This goal is accomplished by breaking up all the students into four different tracks, where each track focuses on a different leadership skill set. Each track has students from universities from all over the country, which allows Ohio State students to interact with other students with the same interest from all over the United States.
I had the opportunity to participate in track one, in my track we discussed the importance of networking, managing our time, dining etiquette, and how to keep all of our thoughts positive and innovating. It was very important for all AFA participates to know how to be professional while networking because of the four hundred company executives and representatives that were in attendance and interacting with us at all times. With having so many networking opportunities available, a lot of business cards were exchanged and internships offered while in Kansas City for those four short days. While at the conference we had to take advantage of every second that we were given, so for us that meant early mornings, late nights, and lots of learning in short periods of time. Time management was a lesson that was talked about, and acted upon while at the conference so that we could get the most from our experience.
From the amazing four course meals that were consistently served, to meeting new people, and reconnecting with friends from the past, my AFA Conference experience was one like no other experience I have ever had. I was once told that leadership is not a destination, it is a journey, and I feel that the AFA Conference has made a huge impact in my leadership journey.