The Animal Agriculture Alliance (Alliance) is excited to announce the launch of College Aggies Online, a new program aimed at helping today's college students become confident advocates for the agriculture industry.

"We are looking forward to providing the tools that young agriculturists need to communicate effectively with the public," said Alliance Executive Vice President Kay Johnson Smith. "College students who participate in the program will do more than just build their resume – they will help ensure the future of America's agriculture industry by sharing accurate information about modern farming and ranching."   

College Aggies Online
, a joint venture of the Alliance and American National CattleWomen, Inc., will connect college students from across the country who are interested in promoting agriculture by sharing their story. Participants will receive training and instructions from industry professionals and will enjoy access to a private forum (accessible here) to post information about current and emerging issues facing farmers and ranchers.

The online community will provide resources to students on key issues to help them better utilize tools such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to share agriculture's story with the public. "Social networking Web sites offer an effective platform for reaching large audiences of people who do not have farm backgrounds," Johnson Smith said.

Agriculture-related clubs from all universities with an agricultural academic program are invited to sign up for the program. Each member will receive an individual account, where they can customize their homepage and upload information. Student groups will earn points by posting blogs, photos and videos to the forum and by participating in online outreach activities.

College Aggies Online
will officially launch on Oct. 15, 2009 and the first year's competition will conclude in April 2010. After final point counts are tallied, the winning club will receive a $750 scholarship, national recognition and a trip for one representative to Washington, D.C. for the Alliance's annual Stakeholders Summit.  Additional recognition and prizes will be awarded to the runner-up in the club competition and to the two top-placing individual competitors.

Interested collegiate clubs or departments should contact Krissa Thom at KThom@animalagalliance.org or (703) 562-1410 for more information. Stakeholders interested in program sponsorship opportunities should visit the Alliance Web site here for more information.

The Animal Agriculture Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a broad-based coalition of individual producers, producer organizations, suppliers, packer-processors, private industry and retailers. The Alliance's mission is to communicate the important role of animal agriculture to our nation's economy, productivity, vitality, security and that animal well-being is central to producing safe, high-quality, affordable food and other products essential to our daily lives.

The American National CattleWomen, Inc. is a national non-profit organization providing a voice for women who share a passion for the U.S. beef industry.  ANCW offers leadership development, education, volunteer opportunities, national programs, and participates in the strategic planning process of the cattle industry.