Contributed by: Michelle Dvoracek
For the past five summers, I have spent the second week of July on UNL’s East Campus attending the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (also known by its shorter name of NAYI). I spent the first two years as a delegate and the past three years as a counselor.
To say NAYI changed my life would be an understatement. NAYI basically shaped me into the person I am today and my future career in agriculture. When I first attended the Institute back in 2010, I was a quiet high school student and I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. While I still have no idea what I want to do after I graduate, thanks to NAYI, now I know that I want to be actively involved in the agricultural industry. My time on the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council (NAYC) has also given me the opportunity to meet many other kids passionate about agriculture just like I am. I’ve met delegates from all over the state with different backgrounds ranging from corn farmers to show pig kids and even a couple organic producers mixed in there. Through the NAYC, I have also met some of my closest friends and have made memories with them that I will never forget. I know I will be able to call on these people years from now if I ever need their help and they know they can do the same.
This year, thanks to the Pork Mentorship Program, I got to experience NAYI from another perspective: as a presenter. For the commodity board sessions, another mentor and NAYC member, Toni Rasmussen, and I helped Kyla Habrock educate the delegates about the Nebraska Pork Producers Association. We talked to them about some of the health benefits of pork as well as the cooking recommendations. To show the delegates just how versatile pork is, we even had an Asian pork tenderloin salad for them to sample. To finish up, Toni and I shared some of our experiences so far in the mentorship program.
Toni and I took the time to snap a group selfie with one of the groups we presented to together.
While this year marked my final year as a counselor, I hope this is not my last time at NAYI. I would love to come back again as a presenter sometime and help to continue educating Nebraska’s youth about this important industry.
NAYC members Eric Wemhoff and Morgan Zumpfe enjoy their salads in some aluminum foil bowls. We gave out so many samples that we ran out of bowls so we had to get creative!