Students Learn to "Ag-vocate"


"In a world of pure imagination," the lyrics say, showing a scarecrow going to work in a factory producing food.

It's not the world farm kids know.

"It's really frustrating," Rebekah Turnbull of York said.

Taylor Spath of Waverly said, "I was really upset when I watched those commercials."

Chipotle serves up more than burritos, but also videos with a heavy dose of social commentary about factory farming.

And if consumers never hear the farmers' side of the story, farm kids are worried.

Amanda Kowalewski of Gothenburg said, "A lot of that is exaggeration or complete lies.,"

"So it's hard to pick out what's true and what's false," Turnbull added.

"And share that in a way that consumers understand on a personal level," Kowalewski concluded.

Advocating for agriculture, or "ag–vocating", is a passion for kids from across the state.There's a feeling many folks have a romanticized view of farmers in overalls and red barns and don't understand modern agriculture.

Morgan Bathke of Allen said, "Agriculture is important and it's obviously we want to keep improving and learning new techniques, the right way."

Agriculture is more than a job, it's way of life and 30 kids recently went through the Agricultural Issues Academy, to train them to speak out when they see negative portrayals of farming.

That's what Taylor Spath did when he saw one of the Chipotle ads.

"Being a teenager my first thought was to go social media about it," he said, explaining he was polite about it.

The Ag Issues Academy at State FFA encourages kids to speak out.

"It's a good experience," Rachel Wieseman of Osceola said.

Supporters of AIA include the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Association of Natural Resources Districts, Nebraska Corn Growers, Nebraska FFA, Nebraska Pork Producers, A-FAN, and Du Pont Pioneer.

NTV's Grow will have more from the State FFA Convention Sunday, March 20th at 10:35 p.m.