CAAS Student Attends 94th Annual USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum
Monday, Mar. 12, 2018
Kyleigh Tyler, pictured here immediately to the right of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, is the first student selected to represent Utah State University at the USDA's Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, now in its 94th year.
Animal science student Kyleigh Tyler was among the 30 students from across the country whose essays earned them an invitation to Washington D. C.
Kyleigh Tyler, a junior in the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, was among just 29 students in the country selected to attend the United States Department of Agriculture’s 94th
Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum as a winner in the Student Diversity Program. Tyler received a weeklong trip to Washington D.C., and is the first student to represent Utah State University at the conference.
The Agricultural Outlook Forum is the USDA’s largest meeting, and the Student Diversity Program is designed to expose students to future and current issues in agribusiness, scientific research and agricultural policy. Tyler, who is studying animal, dairy and veterinary sciences, said this is what drew her to applying to the program.
“I’m fascinated with politics and I was just really interested in going to D.C. and making a difference from a student standpoint in government,” she said.
Tyler was selected based on an essay she wrote about agriculture as a career. In her essay, she discussed how companies and individuals can use their skills and talents to help improve the agricultural condition of the United States.
“This doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone has to have an ADVS degree, or go to Utah State or even to a land-grant college,” Tyler said. “But it does mean that everyone should have agriculture in their sight as they work. I specifically talked about how business people, because I’m also minoring in business, can think about the repercussions of their actions on agriculture.”
Throughout the week, Tyler and the other students participated in discussions with some of the top agricultural officials in the country. Students discussed topics such as the farm bill, addressed growing concerns in agriculture and asked about their thoughts on current issues.
One of the biggest highlights for Tyler was meeting with Sonny Perdue, United States Secretary of Agriculture.
“I loved meeting Sonny Perdue,” she said. “It was cool for him to spend so much time with us and for him to really care about us as students. He was very engaged with us, and we all just sat in a room and bounced ideas off each other for two hours. It was fun because I felt like we were actually a part of discussions of policy.”
Overall, Tyler said this opportunity provided her with real-world experience and helped her realize the importance of students stepping up, getting involved and gaining experience to go along with their education.
“I was impressed by how important it is for us, as the next generation of agriculturists, to step up and take on these problems,” Tyler said. “The problems aren’t going to go away – our resources are going to keep being depleted and we need to be able to feed and clothe the entire population. It is important to step into that role and to educate the individuals who are coming up behind us so we can keep solving problems and be successful in agriculture.”