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NMSU senior selected to attend prestigious agricultural student forum

Sarah Seddon said she was looking for an opportunity to get involved in the agricultural economics industry. With the urging of her adviser, the New Mexico State University senior applied to be a participant in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Outlook Forum Student Diversity Program - and was accepted.

Sarah Seddon, seen here shoeing a horse, will get the chance to put her agricultural knowledge to the test when she attends the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Outlook Forum Student Diversity Program Feb. 24-25. There, she will meet with experts in the agricultural industry and learn about current topics of interest. (Submitted photo)

"I feel privileged to be going to such a prestigious event and represent NMSU to the best of my abilities," Seddon said. "For me, this is a dream finally being realized."

At the forum, "Today's Strategies & Tomorrow's Opportunities," Feb. 24-25 in Arlington, Va., Seddon will get to meet with professionals in the agricultural industry and discuss and learn about current topics of interest, the latest research, future trends, business and policy in contemporary agriculture. The program utilizes a combination of teaching, presentations and discussion panels with experts to educate the students who attend.

Seddon said she will get to meet with, and ask questions of, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, as well as representatives of government agencies and private firms. Agricultural experts who participate in this program use domestic and international partnerships to collaborate on different topics of interest, from investment help for farmers and ranchers to strategic management planning.

Agriculture is nothing new to Seddon. An eighth-generation member of a family of farmers and dairy producers, she wrote in her application essay that her hands-on experience learning about the "changing face of agriculture" while growing up has greatly influenced who she is as a person today. Opportunities at a young age, traveling abroad to serve as a counselor and to participate in economic development projects in the Philippines and the Ukraine, raised Seddon's interest in international affairs. She aspires to become an international trade specialist for agricultural commodities, specifically in the livestock sector.

Seddon is one of only 24 students chosen nationwide to attend this program for students earning agriculture-related degrees at land-grant colleges and universities.

She is working toward a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics, and hopes to also pursue a master's in the future.

"My experience at NMSU has really prepared me for this experience at the forum," Seddon said. "I am going to be able to understand what the experts are talking about and be able to converse intellectually with the professionals. I hope to be able to network with people during this program and better understand how industry works together."