Tackling Technology and Innovations in Agriculture: A Student Experience

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) students Maegan Beatty and Lana Guzman attended the Agriculture Future of America (AFA) Technology Institute. Hosted in Houston, Texas, in conjunction with the Commodity Classic, students learned about agricultural innovations and technology. Beatty and Guzman, both studying agricultural education and communication, received VP Promise funding for this experience.

Beatty and Guzman outside Commodity Classic tradeshow

Industry tours were a big component of the institute, including visiting company booths within the Commodity Classic tradeshow and interacting with the representatives. Beatty and Guzman interacted with several large agricultural companies such as TruTerra, BASF Agricultural Soultions and Corteva.  

“The tours exposed me to different aspects of the agriculture industry,” said Guzman. “It was evident that all of these companies are working to improve efficiency and the future of production.”

In addition to tours, the duo sat in on a few general sessions. Session speakers included a variety of stakeholders. Former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino and USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsak were keynote speakers for the General Session.  

Beatty and Guzman in Houston

“Hearing their stories was incredibly encouraging,” said Beatty. “Their values and commitment to the agriculture industry were inspiring.” 

Another key part of all AFA experiences is the networking opportunities for students. Collegiate attendees received several opportunities for this through the event’s partner dinners and breakfasts.  

“The professionals from John Deere and BASF were important connections for me,” said Beatty. “They offered valuable advice for balancing work and life and how to adjust to relocating for a career. I left this experience feeling encouraged and uplifted.” 

Finally, Beatty and Guzman participated in roundtable discussions. In these conversations, students asked industry leaders about their journeys and current careers. These panels also allowed for one-on-one discussions about technology and the innovations agricultural businesses are pursuing. 

“In a growing world, the role of technology has become vital to improving efficiency and feeding the global population. Understanding the role of technology within agriculture, allows me to better advocate and support innovation,” said Guzman. “After attending the 2024 AFA Technology Institute, I am confident in my ability to advocate for technological advancements in the agriculture industry.” 

The VP Promise offers financial support to students engaging in experiential learning opportunities within agriculture, natural resources and related sciences. The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is dedicated to fostering student development and success, encouraging students to expand their horizons through participation in study abroad programs, leadership roles, scholarly conferences, and other enriching experiences.


Avatar photo
Posted: June 17, 2024

Category: UF/IFAS Teaching
Tags: Agricultural Education And Communication, Innovation, Technology, VP Promise

Subscribe For More Great Content

IFAS Blogs Categories