Part of Governor Hochul’s 2024 State of the State Efforts to Provide New York Students With Educational, Leadership, and Training Opportunities in Agriculture


Conference Will be Held in November 2024 and Eligible Students Can Apply Through July 15


Application and More Information Available Here



Governor Kathy Hochul today announced applications are now open for New York’s first-ever collaborative youth agriculture leadership conference to support further collaboration among youth agriculture organizations and identify opportunities for youth engagement that reflects the industry’s future workforce needs. Included in her 2024 State of the State, Governor Hochul will convene this conference in November 2024 in partnership with the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences New York Agriculture Education & Outreach Program to provide New York students with agriculture educational, leadership and training opportunities.


“As a former 4-H kid, I know firsthand how important agricultural education is to developing a generation of leaders that understand where our food comes from, value the work of our farmers, and are committed to supporting our agricultural communities,” Governor Hochul said. “We’re convening the first ever youth agriculture leadership conference this year to give New York’s next generation of agricultural leaders the opportunity to grow their passion for the industry and learn more about this vital part of New York’s economy.”


Governor Hochul’s first-ever youth agriculture leadership conference provides young leaders the opportunity to connect with state leaders and better understand how policy shapes the interconnected food, agriculture and natural resource industries. Students will explore the many challenges and possibilities within these industries with New York’s top leaders, connect with other students and professionals regarding their own interests and aspirations, and discover the vast array of career possibilities that await them in the future.


This is an invitation-only conference and participation will be determined via the application process. Students in grades 11 or 12 that are active members of an FFA chapter or county 4-H program, or a Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) junior or collegiate chapter, can apply here. The deadline to apply is July 15. Applications submitted after the deadline will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed chronologically if there are remaining conference spots available.


State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “We have a lot to be proud of when it comes to New York agriculture, and that includes our young people who amaze and inspire me every day. I want to thank the Governor for her commitment to ensuring that this next generation is supported, that FFA, 4-H, and MANRRS have the resources they need to provide meaningful opportunities for our students to learn and grow, and, ultimately, that we are building a stronger ag workforce pipeline to connect students to the vast number of careers available in agriculture. This youth agriculture leadership conference is an exciting, first-ever opportunity to bring these organizations and state leaders together, with the potential of helping to shape initiatives that will impact the future of our shared industry.”


Dean of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Benjamin Houlton said, “Since our founding, Cornell CALS has trained New York’s agricultural and environmental leaders. This conference builds on New York state’s commitment to revitalize agricultural education in our urban, suburban and rural communities. I am grateful to Governor Hochul for supporting this generation of agriculture and food innovators and entrepreneurs. Our food security and economy are dependent on the youth of today and this conference will create exciting new pathways and career opportunities for New York state youth.”


New York FFA Director Juleah Tolosky said, “Every year I work with FFA members who are aiming their future toward positions that will secure our food system and serve our communities. This conference will create a cohort of students from every background that care about using their gifts to achieve this mission. I’m inspired by what lifelong connections will be cultivated and what future brilliance will be sparked over the 24-hour event.”


New York FFA State President Jack Beyer said, “I’ve had the opportunity to learn from the Governor at a few leadership conferences which have helped me grow tremendously to be a leader, change maker and advocate for agriculture. This new conference is a great opportunity for students to learn how we can make a difference through policy and careers. I would definitely encourage anyone who has a passion for agriculture and a desire to make a difference to apply!”


Junior MANRRS Coordinator Ian Smith said, “At MANRRS, we are dedicated to fostering an inclusive and diverse community of future leaders in agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences. We are thrilled to partner with Governor Hochul and other esteemed youth development organizations to support the inaugural youth agriculture leadership conference. This initiative aligns perfectly with our mission to inspire and empower young minds, providing them with the leadership skills, educational opportunities, and professional experiences necessary to drive innovation and sustainability in the agricultural sector. Together, we are cultivating the NowGeneration to build a brighter future for New York’s agricultural landscape.”


NYS 4-H Youth Development Program Leader Alexa Maille said, “4-Hers are passionate about agriculture and food systems and care deeply about our communities having access to high quality, healthy foods. This youth agriculture leadership conference is an exciting opportunity for youth in 4-H, MANRRS, and FFA to learn and grow together as the next generation of ag leaders. We appreciate Governor Hochul championing young people and creating this opportunity for youth leaders across the state to give voice to their vision for dynamic and resilient New York State agriculture and food systems for everyone.”


About the Conference Partners

The New York FFA  is an organization aspiring to prepare young people for careers and lifetimes of empowered choices as consumers and citizens. Through conferences, competitions and awards programs, New York FFA aspires to introduce students of all backgrounds to the relevant careers and issues that will impact their future. By developing interest and skills, we serve as a committed piece of the talent pipeline for careers in agriculture, food science, natural resources management, power, structural and technical systems and more. 


4-H is America’s largest youth development organization, empowering nearly six million young people with the skills to lead for a lifetime. In 4-H programs, kids and teens complete hands-on projects in areas like health, science, agriculture, and civic engagement in a positive environment where they receive guidance from adult mentors and are encouraged to take on proactive leadership roles.


MANRRS is a national society that welcomes membership of people of all racial and ethnic group’s participation in agricultural and related science careers. MANRRS offers students opportunities to enhance leadership and organizational and public speaking skills, and to experience professional critique of scholarly work in a “user-friendly” environment. The Junior MANRRS Program is designed to inspire students in grades 7-12 to attend college and pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, agricultural, and mathematics fields, or STEAM.