By Kayla Greiner
“My admiration for the American farmer, who is innovative, optimistic and hardworking, inspired me to become an FFA National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador,” says Katie Johnson, a sophomore in agricultural and life sciences education, communications option.
Johnson is one of 20 ambassadors from across the nation to serve on the 2013-2014 National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador Team.
The role of an ambassador is to increase public understanding and education in the food, fiber and natural resources industry, as well as promote appreciation and awareness in agriculture. The ambassadors have been trained in presentation and public-speaking skills to be an advocate for agriculture.
They must give at least 30 hours of presentations to diverse audiences from elementary school students to urban adults. The ambassadors give presentations on topics ranging from the Dairy Industry to Feeding the World, and are tailored to each individual audience’s knowledge and age range.
Johnson believes being an ambassador means having the ability to communicate agriculture in a way that has not been heard before.
“As an ambassador, I am bridging gaps between the farmer and the consumer,” says Johnson. “I am speaking from a passion and personal tie to agriculture.”
Johnson’s goal is to reach audiences who don’t know a lot about agriculture, those disconnected and the concerned consumers. “These concerned consumers are the ones who can be most influential in agriculture,” says Johnson.
She hopes her audiences will see how important and vital agriculture is to everyday life. “As long as you eat and wear clothes, you’re connected to agriculture,” Johnson says.
Johnson became passionate about agriculture when she moved to a row crop and feedlot farm at the age of 12. She found a world of productivity and ingenuity and immediately saw the beauty of agriculture.
From then on, she vowed to stay connected to agriculture. She came to Iowa State and selected a major that combined her passion for agriculture with her communication skills she gained through participation in debate and FFA in high school.
Her career path is to be a spokesperson for an agricultural commodity group to communicate with the public about the importance of agriculture. “My experiences as an ambassador will help me further develop my communication skills, self-confidence and knowledge about agriculture,” Johnson says.
If you wish to have Johnson come speak to your group, you may contact her at email@example.com.