Candice Harvey, a senior agricultural economics major at Fort Valley State University, may play a role in diversifying agriculture in the years to come. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently chose her to participate in its Agricultural Outlook Forum Diversity Program. Harvey will attend the two-day forum in Arlington, Va., Feb. 21-22.
The goal of the forum is to provide an opportunity for future agriculture professionals to hear from government leaders and share their concerns. It also serves as a networking platform for minority students pursuing agriculture careers. During her stay in Arlington, Harvey will receive a tour of the USDA Agricultural Research Service Beltsville Research Center and a tour of Washington, D.C. Her lodging, travel expenses, meals and hotel are provided by USDA's program sponsors.
The USDA/1890 National Scholar was selected based on recommendation letters and an essay submission about the topic, "Agriculture as a Career." Harvey is one of 20 juniors and seniors from across the country selected for the forum. Participants represent land-grant universities, Hispanic-serving and American Association of State Colleges of Agriculture and Renewable Resource Institutions.
"I'm excited," she said. "This is the area of ag that I favor the most because I'm interested in diversity and outreach."
The 21-year-old said unlike many students who pursue agriculture careers, she did not have an agriculture background. Once she enrolled at FVSU, she began to understand the different career opportunities. She became interested in marketing agricultural occupations and diversifying this field that people of color and women may not normally pursue. Harvey said she wants to teach people that agriculture is about more than cows and plows.
"I feel I can reach those students who would have never given agriculture a chance," she said. As the trip approaches, Harvey said she looks forward to meeting new people, visiting the D.C. area and networking. She said she looks at this as an opportunity not only for herself, but for those behind her, who she plans to help.
For more information on agriculture programs at FVSU, contact Donovan Coley, director of outreach and marketing at (478) 825-3976 or firstname.lastname@example.org.