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During the fall and spring semesters, Agriculture Ambassadors at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) have welcomed leaders from across the state for leadership lunches. These casual discussions have focused around the importance of leadership in local communities and to agriculture as an industry. “I really enjoy meeting with students who have such a positive outlook on agriculture as an industry and how they can shape it with new technology and ideas,” said Stacey Satterwhite, Ottawa County Farm Bureau Agent and one of the speakers during the series. “I think meeting the students can put some reality behind their goals and get them acquainted with the opportunities they have available. At the same time, we can offer some insight. Even though technology has changed the college experience, we’ve been in similar situations to the students.” “It doesn’t just help the students, though,” he added. “I get to meet with the next generation of agriculturalists and see where the market is going and helps me understand their needs. I’ve also been fortunate to hire an NEO graduate as they continue to earn their bachelor’s degree through the Pathways Program.”

Along with Satterwhite, NEO Agriculture welcomed NEO President Dr. Jeff Hale, Miami City Manager Mr. Dean Kruithof, District 7 Representative Mr. Ben Loring, Mrs. Mary Booth from the First National Bank of Miami, Rancher and former NEO Instructor Mr. Ryan Sproul, GRDA Assistant General Manager of Ecosystems Management Dr. Darrell Townsend, and Mr. Tyler Dewey with Merck Animal Health and former NEO Agriculture Chair. “Our local leaders covered a range of topics from self-motivation to career flexibility,” said McKenzie Conner, NEO Agriculture Chair. “We are grateful to the guests who volunteered their time to speak with our future agriculture leaders.”

Former Agriculture Department Chair Dr. Shannon Cunningham started the organization in 2007 as a way for the agriculture department to have representation by NEO students who rise to the top as leaders within the department. The group is only for sophomores, who are selected based on their application, leadership skills, integrity, and character during their freshmen year. For more information about the NEO Agriculture Ambassadors, contact McKenzie Conner at McKenzie.Nygren@neo.edu.

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