PAS Conference spotlights ag majors

From March 13-16, nine SMSU students attended the National Post-Secondary Agriculture Students (PAS) Conference held in Louisville, Kentucky. SMSU students Asa Nelson, Amanda Stafford, Ashle ‘Lukes’ Benson, Shantel Koering, MacKenzie Schultz, Ashley Eisenbraun, Ryan Riebel and Melissa Downing attended. Past National Secretary Amy Marquette also attended on behalf of SMSU.

PAS is an organization that works to provide opportunity and experience for college students pursuing a career in the agriculture industry. Currently, there are five Minnesota colleges in PAS and 18 colleges nationwide. There are roughly 20 students from SMSU that are members of PAS. An agriculture major is not required for membership, members only need to be enrolled in any agriculture course.

National Post-Secondary Agriculture Students is a student run organization. Benson was elected as the national secretary of PAS and Nelson was elected for the national vice-president role. Stafford works as a state officer.

“It lets me take what I’ve learned in class and use it in real life scenarios,” Benson said.

Overall, SMSU students had a successful trip. Many of the students placed well in their respective competitions. The students were also able to meet some more prominent figures in the agricultural industry.

At the national conference, students participated in competitions on agricultural and livestock knowledge. The conference’s goal is to prepare students for a future in agriculture and agricultural education. Some contests focus on interview skills while others concentrate on knowledge pertaining to agricultural careers.

In addition to various individual competitions, SMSU students competed as a team in College Bowl and Sheep Specialist.

The judges for these competitions are agriculture representatives. Stafford explained that it’s a great opportunity to learn from the top members of the industry.

Ashlee Benson said this wasn’t her best conference, but she “had fun, learned something and meet people”.

“My biggest thing at the end of it,” Benson said, “ [is] if you learned something, you won.”