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Students spend part of summer at IFAL campsite

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 LOUISVILLE - Summer vacation may be only beginning for most students, but that doesn’t mean Kentucky Farm Bureau’s (KFB) emphasis on education is slowing down. Eighty-four high school juniors from 54 counties across the state have accepted invitations to attend KFB’s 27th annual Institute for Future Agricultural Leaders (IFAL).

IFAL is a unique five-day summer leadership conference that highlights a variety of careers in agriculture while exposing high school students to a preview of college life. Participants were nominated by their county Farm Bureau board of directors with the assistance of school personnel and youth group advisors. IFAL students are among the top in their class, plan to further their education at the post-secondary level and have an interest in pursing a career in agriculture.

During the week-long IFAL conference, attendees will gain a better understanding of the nature and needs of the agriculture industry, see how basic and applied science is utilized in agriculture and learn of the political process used to develop agricultural policy. Participants will engage in team-building and recreational activities, attend classes and hear from speakers focusing on the values of leadership, social, communication and motivational skills, and visit research farms and other agriculture-related industries. The entire experience is wrapped in a college atmosphere as the students live in dormitories, eat in university dining facilities and become acquainted with life on a college campus in general.

To provide conference participants with a small-group atmosphere and greater ability to learn and engage in the activities planned, IFAL is split into two identical sessions. The first was held on the campus of Murray State University, June 17-21, and the other was hosted at the University of Kentucky, June 24-28.

The 42 participants attending IFAL at Murray State University include: Kevyn Cunningham, Ballard County; Trevor Baise and Miranda McKinney, Barren County; David Faulkner, Boyle County; Melanie Bleemel and Michaela Lacoursiere, Bullitt County; Tori Fugate, Butler County; Shawn Wood, Caldwell County; Katie Fletcher, Hannah Hopper and Chelsea King, Cumberland County; Morgan Phillips and Suzanne Price, Fleming County; Lindsay Holmes, Graves County; Lexi Skaggs, Hardin County; Missy Pearson and Taylor Thompson, Henderson County; Shea Elswick and Jared Whitlock, LaRue County; Addie Baldwin and Mallory Wright, Logan County; Mattea Kirk, Lyon County; Kelsey Choate, Madison County; Megan Harper, Marshall County; Erin McIntyre, McCracken County; Cole Marlow, McCreary County; Trenton Ayer, McLean County; Ashton Jones, Ruth Ann Myers, Meagan Pinkston and Rusty Sallee, Mercer County; Lauren Nickell, Montgomery County; Gabby Cheatham, Tai Robbins, Kayla Williams and Lissa Mattingly, Nelson County; Taylor Hillard, Ohio County; Hunter Sutton, Owen County; Sydney Gates, Scott County; John McGhee, Todd County; Lily Harris, Warren County; and Michael Mann, Washington County.

The 42 participants attending IFAL at the University of Kentucky include: Eric Schwenke, Boone County; Caitlin Conley, Boyd; Jacey Gill, Caldwell County; Alexandria Toon, Carlisle County; Jena Hopkins, Casey County; Travis Drumm and Allison Ratliff, Clark County; Emily Prater, Fleming County; Rachel Young, Franklin County; Savannah Clark and Mariah Gullion, Gallatin County; Stephanie Crouch, Garrard County; Madison Sidebottom, Green County; Jessica Bailey, Greenup County; Shelby Highbaugh, Hardin County; Madison Clary, Henderson County; Samantha Shaffer, Jefferson County; Kaitlin Fouts, Laurel County; Marina Warf, Lawrence County; Monique Brummett, Lincoln County; Austin Lee, Lyon County; Meagan Lucas and Michael Sandusky, Marion County; Jacob Thorn, Marshall County; Tyler Perry, McCreary County; Danielle LaTondress, Meade County; Victoria Mohon, Muhlenberg County; Auburn Anderson and Miranda Black, Pulaski County; Elizabeth Lawrence, Rockcastle County; Victoria Hammons, Scott County; Spencer Hammond, Shelby County; Anna Meador, Simpson County; Collin Travis and Shane Greenwell, Spencer County; Samantha Buckman and Angela Farmer, Taylor County; William Sharp, Todd County; Ella Fourqurean, Trigg County; Douglas Heveline, Trimble County; Maggie Stenger, Union County; and Joanna Porter, Warren County.