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New youth group to promote agricultural issues


BLACKSBURG, Va., May 9, 2012 – Virginia 4-H, Virginia FFA, and Virginia Farm Bureau Young Farmers have announced the creation of Virginia AGvocates: Youth Advocating for Agriculture. The new program unites youth as one positive voice to produce, promote, and take pride in Virginia’s agriculture through public relations activities.

Virginia AGvocates plans to use its website as an online database for agricultural advocacy. It will supply members with a list of resources including speech templates, tips on writing editorials, pointers on radio and television interviews, and helpful hints on writing press releases.

In addition, scholarship opportunities will be available for youth ages 9 to 19. Scholarship requirements include speeches and essays on topics relating to the future of agriculture in the commonwealth. A series of advocacy training workshops will be held throughout the state in conjunction with participating partners’ conferences and conventions.

“Virginia AGvocates is an awesome opportunity for youth to be directly connected to the many parts of the agricultural industry,” said Brian Walsh, Virginia FFA Association state president and Virginia AGvocate participant. “Youth are the future of our industry. This program will develop future agriculturalists and strong leaders, which is what we will need to continue to feed the growing population in the years to come.”

A grant from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, with matching funds from Virginia 4-H and Virginia FFA, is funding the program.

More information, resources, and upcoming activities is available on Virginia AGvocates website.

Virginia Cooperative Extension brings the resources of Virginia's land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth. Through a system of on-campus specialists and locally based educators, it delivers education in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community viability, and 4-H youth development. With a network of faculty at two universities, 107 county and city offices, 11 agricultural research and Extension centers, and six 4-H educational centers, Virginia Cooperative Extension provides solutions to the problems facing Virginians today.