A flash of the future: Meet the “Ag Ambassadors”

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CAP Ag Ambassadors

In a sense, they represent the future of agriculture.

Their desired occupations vary. One among this group of seven high school juniors and seniors from throughout Pinal County wants to be an agriculture lawyer. Another is setting his sights on agriculture business in general. Others are striving for future positions such as a wildlife biologist or veterinarian. Yet in this group, they are all “Ag Ambassadors”.

Scholarship recipients through the Arizona Farm Bureau’s Ag Ambassador Scholarship Program, these prospective future leaders in agriculture have been enjoying various leadership learning opportunities through the program.

One opportunity included visiting Scottsdale’s Horizon Park in February to hear a presentation hosted by Central Arizona Project. Since CAP reliably delivers Colorado River water to more than 80 percent of the state’s population in central and southern Arizona, including agricultural stakeholders, the presentation was appropriate information to equip students as they plan their future as agricultural leaders.

The presentation was made possible when CAWCD Board of Directors member Stephen Miller, who also is serving his third term on the Pinal County Board of Supervisors, connected CAP to the Ag Ambassadors group.

Students learned CAP topics such as:

  • Details of the 336-mile CAP system with its pumping plants, tunnels, check gates and turnouts.
  • The 1,400-mile journey of Colorado River water to the CAP system.
  • The Colorado River shortage situation.

How did the students hear about the program? Kelly Wilcox, the Ag Ambassadors group leader, and a board member on the Arizona Farm Bureau, had traveled to various high schools throughout Pinal County encouraging students to apply for the scholarships. Interested students then submitted application materials such as a letter of recommendation and an essay.

In this practice of cultivating plants and livestock that began long ago, the group’s stop to learn about CAP was one way the ambassadors are hoping to advance this science into the future.