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News Release

Jan. 29, 2021

Agriculture advocacy students earn prizes in national contest

By Edidiong Idong-Bassey, communication assistant

Northwest Missouri State University’s fall agriculture advocacy class placed first and received an award of $2,750 at the conclusion of the annual Animal Agriculture Alliance’s College Aggies Online scholarship competition.

College Aggies Online connects college students who are interested in promoting agriculture through training with industry experts and engagement on social media about current and emerging issues facing farmers and ranchers as well as sharing personal stories.

More than 275 individuals and 16 collegiate clubs throughout the country participated in the annual competition, representing 87 colleges in 39 states. For nine weeks, mentors selected students to win mini scholarships for having the best social media posts, videos, blog posts and infographics.

The Northwest agriculture advocacy class placed first in the club category for their social media scavenger hunt, which involved hiding toy animals with agriculture facts on the Northwest campus and posting the information on social media platforms. Scavenger hunt winners received prizes after returning the items, and the class conducted a survey of the Northwest community to record their knowledge of agriculture.

Northwest agriculture advocacy classes routinely perform well in the competition, and the fall 2020 course marked the second consecutive year that they received a group scholarship award. Last year, the class earned the second-place prize of $1,000. The prize money is placed into the School of Agricultural Sciences’ general scholarship fund.

“We think that ag advocacy is important and try to put that into the minds of our students,” Dr. Rod Barr, the director of the School of Agricultural Students said. “It’s tied to curriculum. It’s a profession-based learning experience that allows them to learn in the classroom and put it into practice out in the real world. What is most gratifying for me is to see what happens after they’re outside of the class and seeing the students that are still advocating.”

Additionally, 11 Northwest students earned the College Aggies Online Excellence Award as top performers in the competition. Award recipients were:

  • Sydni Akey, junior agricultural business major of Kansas City, Missouri
  • Lane Conderman, a senior agricultural education major of Foley, Missouri
  • Kayla Cornett, a junior agricultural education major of Ava, Missouri
  • Chelsea Kuntz, a junior agricultural education major of Bowling Green, Missouri
  • Emily Limback, a senior agricultural education major of Alma, Missouri
  • Baylee Lovewell, a junior agricultural education major of Creighton, Missouri
  • Russell Neeley, a junior agricultural science major of Brookfield, Missouri
  • Taylor Riley, a senior agricultural education major of Cole Camp, Missouri
  • Courtney Scholting, a senior agricultural science major from Gretna, Nebraska
  • Taylor Shuck, a senior agricultural science major from Hunnewell, Missouri
  • Brooke Vogelsmeier, a junior agricultural media major from Sweet Springs, Missouri

Neeley used Facebook and Instagram to promote agricultural practices at Northwest. He created social media posts focused on hogs, nutrition and crop production.

“It was something new, something different,” Neeley said. “It was to motivate students to get involved in being socially active with what they do in the industry. It got me out of my comfort zone, and I did things I normally wouldn’t, so I’d say it was a good experience.”

Cornett added, “The College Aggies Online competition was fun, and I learned more about agriculture while doing it. It really found a way to get participants out of their comfort zones and talk about important issues in agriculture. I'm glad I was able to participate in it and share what agriculture is about with people who don't know as much about it.”

About Northwest’s School of Agricultural Sciences

Northwest’s growing School of Agricultural Sciences directly serves students enrolled in an agriculture program, accounting for about 10 percent of the University’s student population. In addition to its headquarters at the Dean L. Hubbard Center for Innovation, the School of Agricultural Sciences operates the Horticulture Complex and the 448-acre R.T. Wright Farm, which is home to beef, swine, dairy and sheep enterprises as well as row and forage crops.

Additionally, Northwest’s Forever Green campaign is raising funds for an Agricultural Learning Center, an $11.4 million, 29,000-square-foot multipurpose facility that will add classrooms and laboratories to the Wright Farm. It will allow for research and scholarly activities centered on crop, soil and livestock resources, and processing of agricultural products. It also will include space for public and private functions such as producer and agricultural industry meetings, workshops, shows and career development events.

For more information about the School of Agricultural Sciences, visit


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215