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Evansville resident represents state's corn growers

Minnesota Corn Growers Association Agvocates Kelsey Gunderson of Raymond, Greg Tusa of Alpha and Leah Johnson of Evansville attended the 16th annual Minnesota Agricultural Ambassador Institute (MAAI) earlier this summer in Willmar.

The MAAI program combines hands-on activities, speakers and tours that encourage and develop communication and leadership skills, and increase agricultural knowledge.

Also among the 30 individuals taking part were representatives from the Minnesota Pork Board, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Minnesota FFA Association and local FFA chapters, Minnesota Beef Council and Minnesota Farm Bureau.

The MAAI participants toured agriculturally related businesses and research facilities on the MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar, including Feedlogic Corporation, Nova-Tech Engineering, Anez Consulting and Epitopix. Additional tour stops were the Gorans Brothers Turkey Farm, Blomkest, and East Dublin Dairy, Murdock.

This year's keynote speaker was Executive Director of Provider Pals, Bruce Vincent of Libby, Montana. Vincent encouraged the MAAI participants to be agricultural advocates by challenging misinformation that they see or hear about crop and livestock production practices and to help educate others on how food is grown and raised.

Other speakers included Stacy Revels, National Pork Board, Des Moines, Iowa, and Kevin Paap, Minnesota Farm Bureau president, who spoke on leadership development.

Jenna Kromann and Dan Erickson of Minnesota Corn Growers Association and Robin Kinney, agricultural consultant, presented on social media and traditional media communication tips and tools.

MAAI organizers and financial sponsors are the Minnesota Pork Board, Minnesota Livestock Breeders Association, Farm Boy brand clothing, Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council, AgStar Financial Services, Midwest Dairy Association, Minnesota Farm Bureau, Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council, and Minnesota Lamb and Wool Growers Association.