University News

WIU Student Named Nat'l Ag Ambassador

October 31, 2006

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MACOMB, IL -- When Western Illinois University agriculture major Matthew Meyer puts together his resume, it could read "the one and only."

Meyer, a junior ag education student from Newark, recently was one of 15 college students appointed as a National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador, a division of Collegiate FFA. Meyer is the only -- and the first -- ambassador from Illinois.

According to the Collegiate FFA website, the ambassador program's focus is to develop and implement a sustainable agricultural awareness program that influences teachers and students to share the importance of agriculture. Meyer, whose term began in August 2006 and will run through July 2007, was selected based on his application and a video presentation, followed by an interview by a National FFA Center representative.

As an ambassador, Meyer and the 15 other students will present agriculture-related topics at area high schools, colleges, community organizations and other groups interested in learning more about the agriculture industry.

"I encouraged Matt to apply for the ambassador position knowing that he would accept the challenge," said Agriculture Professor Andy Baker. "Few students go looking for challenges of this magnitude, so it didn't surprise me when he was selected to the position. Matt has a tremendous work ethic and has a positive attitude towards the field of education. He is a true representative of servant leadership."

Meyer is no stranger to being an "ag advocate." Throughout his years at Sandwich High School he was active in the school's FFA organization, and later at Joliet Junior College he was a member of the Illinois Post-Secondary Agriculture Students organization. He also served as an officer for Joliet's Student Agriculture Association, as well as the schools Student Government Association and Collegiate Club Council.

"All of these leadership positions helped me develop valuable public speaking skills that helped me secure the ambassador position," Meyer said. "I enjoy promoting agriculture, and as an ambassador I'm able to tell others about the ever-changing agriculture industry. Agriculture is not just about farming anymore and that's important to share with others."

Meyer's goal is to reapply to the ambassador program again next year to continue to spread the word about the ag industry. But what about after graduation? Thanks to his chosen field -- agriculture education -- Meyer's ag marketing and promotion won't end.

"I hope to get a job as a high school agriculture instructor," he added. "The ambassador program and my education at Western will help me further develop my skills so I can continue to teach others about agriculture."

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (
Office of University Communications & Marketing