For 45 years, Nebraska has had a group of college-aged agricultural ambassadors who help tell the story of agriculture to high school students and consumers across the state.
The Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council (NAYC) is sponsored by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, with financial support from the Nebraska Corn Board and other ag stakeholders.
Morgan Zumpfe from Friend, Nebr., has been a member of the NAYC for three years. This past year, she served as one of two head counselors for NAYC. Morgan is a senior at UNL majoring in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Communication and also a past intern with the Nebraska Corn Board.
“In essence, we serve as the youth outreach team for the Department of Ag,” Morgan said. “Becoming a part of NAYC involves a competitive interview process. From there, 23 college students are selected to share their passion for agriculture with others, especially with high school students.”
The Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI) is the largest NAYC event of the year. The five-day institute is held on UNL’s East Campus and is attended by high school juniors and seniors. “The intent is to expose high school students to the wide range of careers in agriculture,” Morgan said. “Attending NAYI as a high school junior and senior was a big reason I chose to come to UNL and pursue a career in agriculture.”
NAYC is very involved in youth outreach throughout the year, and even arranges farm tours for elementary students in the Lincoln Public Schools. The organization also participates in promotional and educational activities at AKSARBEN, the state FFA convention and other events to help raise awareness of and appreciation for agriculture.
During her college career, Morgan has had four internships. “My internship in the Nebraska Corn Board offices started it all off,” she said. “They took me as an intern when I was a sophomore and gave me great experiences for an entire year. I’m really blessed that the Nebraska Corn Board offered me that internship, and it convinced me that a career in agriculture was right for me.”
When she graduates in May 2017, Morgan will begin her career with Cargill Animal Nutrition in the company’s junior management program.
Morgan says that pursuing a career in agriculture does not require growing up on a farm or ranch. “I strongly encourage people with different backgrounds to consider a career in agriculture—from finance to business to engineering,” she said. “We have a big world to feed, and it’s going to require a wide range of experience, talent and ideas in order to help us meet the challenges ahead of us.”