Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture

ABM Student Wins Trip to USDA Ag Outlook Forum

Published Date: Jan 29, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Victoria Gastelum

An agribusiness management student will attend a national forum on key issues and topics facing the agricultural industry.

Victoria Gastelum will travel to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 94th Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, which will be held Feb. 22 and 23, in Arlington, Va.

A senior from Inglewood who is minoring in agronomy, Gastelum was one of the 30 students nationwide who were selected by the USDA Student Diversity Program to attend the forum. The students were chosen after participating in an essay contest on agricultural careers and challenges.

“These students are the next generation of agriculture, and it is important for the USDA to support their training as future agriculture professionals,” USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson said in a statement. “At the Ag Outlook Forum, these students will hear current leaders share their vision for agriculture as they begin to map out their own careers.”

In her essay, Gastelum noted that the world is facing monumental challenges in water shortages, climate change, and food accessibility.

“I know that having a career in agriculture will help with all of these issues, and knowing I can be part of that help honors me,” she wrote. “Attending the USDA Outlook Forum, I feel, will help in guiding me through the right steps on how I can help start changing agriculture policy in today’s society and around the world.”

The Student Diversity Program gives undergraduate and graduate students real-world learning opportunities in contemporary agribusiness, scientific research, and agricultural policy.

Finalists are selected from land-grant universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and non-land-grant colleges of agriculture. From the finalists, 20 undergraduate and 10 graduate students are chosen to attend the forum. 

The forum is the USDA’s largest meeting and attracts as many as 2,000 participants from around the country and the world, including producers, processors, policymakers, government officials, and nongovernmental organizations.

In addition to the forum, the participating students will take part in a USDA briefing and discussion of career opportunities with agricultural leaders in academia, government, and industry. They also will get to tour the nation’s capital.