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Minnesota Corn Growers welcome new crop of agvocates

SHAKOPEE -- The Minnesota Corn Growers Association announces the new Agvocates ("Advocates for Agriculture") for 2011-2012. They are Kelsey Gunderson of Raymond, Leah Johnson of Evansville and Greg Tusa of Alpha.

The program, in its second year, is designed to create a learning environment to encourage the development of young leaders in agriculture. It also strives to create awareness of issues facing corn farmers and develop young leaders into skilled advocates for these issues.

Gunderson is attending the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities where she is studying for a degree in agricultural education, specializing in leadership and communications. With her degree, she hopes to become an ag radio broadcaster or find a communications position with an agriculturally based company.

Johnson attends North Dakota State University in Fargo and is pursuing a degree in agricultural economics. She hopes to one day work for an organization in which she can promote agriculture.

Tusa grew up on a crop production farm and is majoring in agriculture business at South Dakota State University in Brookings. Upon graduation, he plans to pursue a career in agricultural lending and also stay active in organizations that focus on promoting agriculture to the public, youth and government.

"We are excited to welcome three new Agvocates who will help Minnesota Corn Growers proactively share agriculture's story," said Greg Schwarz, corn farmer from Le Sueur and president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. "It's important for farmers to stand up and speak out and that is exactly what our Agvocates will be helping to do."

Agvocates will be given opportunities to become actively involved with corn and agriculture, develop leadership, communication and advocacy skills through hands-on experiences and network with agricultural professionals. Among other benefits of the program, they receive a $3,000 scholarship.