Howdy! My name is Payton Miner, and I am a Texas Equine Ambassador of three years. I have also shown every species of livestock while in 4-H giving me a unique perspective and the ability to speak from experience in both equine and livestock issues. I realized that while I had the heart for livestock and agriculture, I lacked true knowledge. It was when I became an Equine Ambassador that I gained experience and gained a passion for what I loved, writing. As I have advanced through the program I have learned that advocating for the agriculture industry as a whole is what I wanted my focus to be. A defining moment was when an article was published in my local newspaper outlining how allowing youth to show livestock taught bad values and offered nothing but actions done in the name of profit. Going through ambassador training I was taught by Dr. Zanolini and others that I would come across people adverse to what I believed in, but it took actually experiencing it first-hand to understand that sometimes in life we have to stand up for what is right. I wrote a rebuttal article that was published and shared nationally, something I only considered to be my duty as an ambassador and as a 4-H’er turned into something bigger. That experience taught me the meaning of being an ambassador: that our job is to educate and defend the industry and actions that put food on the dinner table.
Later on, after speaking at Tarleton State University to a group of educators about the importance of incorporating agriculture into school curriculum, I understood that as an ambassador, part of the “job description” was to not only educate the adults but youth as well since they are the leaders of tomorrow. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet Governor Greg Abbott, and to speak at events on behalf of Texas 4-H and the Equine Ambassador program about the importance of teaching agriculture in the classroom and defending the industry that feeds us all. I contacted a local school to see if I could go and share with students and staff where the food in their lunch box comes from. I was not sure how that would all play out but I was invited to speak in front of almost 200 elementary school kids at a local school. With the help of the beef & dairy council as well as the Farm Bureau, I was equipped and excited to pass on what I have learned. I asked the group if anyone could tell me where orange juice came from. A second grader raised her hand and said, “H-E-B” (our local grocery store). I knew that day that as ambassadors we all have a lot of work to do educating and advocating.
My passion for agriculture discovered through my ambassadorship has led me to want to be a Lobbyist – specializing in agriculture-related issues. Being an ambassador has led to me making wonderful connections and creating a network and has given me some of the best friends I’ve ever had. It has taught me life skills beyond what I could have imagined and is responsible for my accomplishments. As I enter into this next chapter of my life at Texas A&M University, I will carry the things I have learned as an ambassador and apply them to my everyday life, from knowing my roots and how to defend them, to ensuring that future generations still have the resources we do today by doing my part to educate and advocate for the agriculture industry because an industry that feeds us, is an industry worth fighting for.
Click the link to apply: http://agrilife.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eEtOjSLLYPtZQax