DelVal student wins a national Agriculture Communications award

Dec 21, 2011

Zachary Gihorski, a senior Agricultural Education major, received the Ag Communications Award Saturday, Dec. 10, at the 45th National Young Farmers Educational Association annual institute in Kansas City.

Gihorski, of Port Norris, N.J., took first place out of 23 students from 20 states in the national competition. Garth Duncan of the University of Missouri took second and Kimberly Miller of Purdue University was named as an alternate.

Contestants were required to submit written plans showing how they would approach communicating the positive side of an identified issue.  The top two plans were selected with the winners advancing to Agriculture’s Promise, a conference to be held in Washington, D.C., Feb. 5-7. 

After DelVal, Gihorski would like to attend law school to study environmental law and become an advocate for farmers.

He is passionate about helping others through agriculture.

Gihorski’s winning plan discussed how charitable gardens can help provide nutritious food for people who can’t afford to feed their families.

“This issue is one I have been extremely passionate about,” Gihorski said in his plan. “When I came to understand that so many members of my college’s local community were struggling to acquire the nutrition they needed to support their families, it motivated me to take action.”

In Washington, Gihorski will have the opportunity to visit the offices of senators and representatives and talk face-to-face with America’s leaders about important agricultural issues. 

He’s excited about the opportunity to go to Washington.

“To work on a project at your school and be able to go to Washington to talk about your idea is very unique,” said Gihorksi. "I’m excited about it and getting a chance to see how legislation works there.”

Gihorski said he’s found some great mentors at DelVal, including Russell Redding, the dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, and Dr. Mena Birett, of The Office of The First Year Experience.

Jami Willard, of Washington, and Kathryn Shallenberger, of Illinois, last year’s winners, facilitated the program. Willard noted “Zach is very meticulous and articulate.”

Agriculture’s Promise is designed to bring together agriculture’s future leaders and today’s decision makers to identify challenges and opportunities, examine them openly and develop a plan for moving forward with the goal of designing a framework to support agriculture’s future. 

The winner, determined at Agriculture’s Promise, will receive a lifetime National Young Farmers Educational Association  membership.  The home office for the organization is in Montgomery, Ala.

The Ag Communications program was sponsored by John Deere.  Dennis W. Kelly, representing John Deere, participated in the program. The event was hosted by the Missouri Young Farmers and the Farm Wives Association.