National Ag Day, it is a day to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture. Every year, producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America join together to recognize the contributions of agriculture.

National Ag Day student perspective, Part IIThe National Ag Day & Agriculture Future of America (AFA) Policy Institute program, sponsored by Farm Credit through Agriculture Council of America (ACA), encourages every American to value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy and appreciate the role agriculture policy plays in this important endeavor.

In reality, far too many people are unaware of the role of American agriculture in their daily lives and what it really takes to have food on their dinner table. Just a few generations ago, most people had direct involvement with agriculture. Because this is no longer the case, accurate information related back to members of Congress are more important than ever.

While in Washington D.C., I was very grateful to have the opportunity to interact with members of congress, as well as many industry leaders; ranging from current and former Secretaries of Agriculture, directors of domestic and international trade firms, and representatives of farm equipment and food production companies. I found the transparency of each individual I had the opportunity to engage with to be very revitalizing.

Agriculture is this nation's number one export and vitally important in sustaining a healthy economy. It is not just the farmer who makes our food possible. The entire agriculture industries, all the way to the grocery store, are vital links in a chain that brings food to every citizen and millions of people abroad.National Ag Day and AFA’s Policy Institute put a face on the future of agriculture and personally emphasize the importance of agriculture in our everyday lives.

Ambition and passion have given me opportunities that many never get to experience. AFA Policy Institute provided a great educational experience for me, as a Kansas State Universitystudent. The insightful knowledge we learned about government’s role in U.S. Agriculture will transform me into a more desirable asset sought by agriculture industry leaders. The AFA program has given me a newfound appreciation for the politics involved in today’s agriculture. The program bridged the gap between academic, leadership and work experiences, while at the same time helping me understand the policy decisions made every day. This institute helped me develop personally and professionally while giving me the necessary tools for a successful career. I met so many great people during National Ag. Week, many of whom I will work with on a regular basis. These connectionsand experiences are a major resource I will someday use wherever my career will lead me, whether I am at home on the farm raising cattle that merit a high end product for consumers, getting involved in community leadership or simply advocating for agriculture on a daily basis. My time spent in Washington D.C. equipped and rejuvenated me to be as successful as I can be and for that I am truly thankful.

John Sachse is a senior in animal science at Kansas State University. Sachse also serves as vice president KSU Collegiate Farm Bureau and Secretary KSU Collegiate Cattlemen's Club.