A Youthful Voice...The Advocate Youth Page Schyler Angell

Associate Editor,
Advocate Youth Page

Every other school day, I start my school day in Government class. Throughout the school year, we have spent much of our time learning more about the three branches of government and their roles. Recently, we did an activity where each student proposed a bill, discussed it, revised their writing and sent the bill to the House of Representatives or the Senate, which was simply a different classroom. The activity demonstrated the complexity of the law making process. This activity showed me the work and time that goes into each law, however it wasn’t until recently traveling to Jefferson City that showed me the reality of the process, and the effect those bills and laws have on agriculture.

This month, I had the opportunity to hear from commodity organizations and elected officials as part of the Missouri Agribusiness Academy’s third session.

This past summer, I attended a week long academy, with 29 other FFA members, and toured several agribusinesses in Springfield, Mo.

The academy is sponsored by The Missouri Department of Agriculture, and was an amazing experience.

Spending a week together with 29 other students who have similar interests has created great friendships. We keep in touch through social media and were able get together during the Missouri State Fair for a second session.

Our second session included volunteering to pack food for food banks, spending time in the Agricultural Building and listening to Governor Mike Parsons speak.

Recently, my class of fellow MAbA students had our third session together in our state’s capital, beginning at the Center for Soybean Innovation. The new center, a home for the Missouri Soybeans Association, features soy-based building materials, including soy-based countertops, flooring, insulation, turf, asphalt and a “BioHeat” system to heat the building. Gary Wheeler, the Executive Director for the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, showed us the buildings innovative features. The center plans to provide a place for people to learn and connect with others, which became evident to me while on the tour. The center’s grand opening is scheduled for March 5, 2020, and I am excited to see how it benefits those involved.

While at the Center for Soybean Innovation, I heard from the Missouri Corn Growers Association, Missouri Farm Bureau, the Missouri Pork Association and the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association. Each organization shared with us how they played a role in Missouri agriculture, and some of the current events they were involved with. We discussed ethanol, rural broadband, Senate Bill 391 and property rights. One of my favorite parts of the day was participating in communication and media training. One thing we were reminded of, as agriculturalists, is that the media is not our enemy. Generally speaking, the media needs our help, and we need their help.

Next, we headed to the capitol. While at the capitol, we toured the governor’s office, watched a legislative session and climbed to the top of the dome. I enjoyed watching the session take place in the House Gallery, and seeing the members in action. Observing a legislative session and touring the capitol put what I have learned in my government classroom into perspective. Throughout the day, I noticed the complexity of how the government works and affects us. Just like the multiple facets of Missouri agriculture, there are many moving parts, and so much to learn. So, whether I am in the classroom or in the state capitol, I plan to follow the advice given to me and my MAbA classmates from Garry Wheeler, “Continue to educate yourself so you can be the best that you can be.”