For the past 25 years, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture has partnered with the Kentucky Farm Bureau to offer rising high school seniors an opportunity to take a step toward leadership in the agriculture industry.

The Institute for Future Agricultural Leaders is held on the UK campus each summer.

"IFAL allows these Kentucky students the chance to meet leaders like themselves from all over the state and explore opportunities in agriculture and higher education at the same time," said Jason Headrick, director of student relations for the UK College of Agriculture.

The five-day conference exposes students to college life and explores different fields of study in agriculture. Participants live in university dormitories, eat in university dining facilities and become acquainted with the UK campus. Students take part in special leadership classes, hear exciting speakers, and enjoy team-building recreation, fellowship and visits to research farms and other agriculture-related industries.

"The IFAL program helps these students see their own potential for leadership and how they might apply it toward a career in agriculture and related fields of study," Headrick said.

Each year, UK and Farm Bureau representatives select only about 45 of the most qualified applicants. Many times, the local Farm Bureau sponsors participants, so there is no cost to the student.

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the institute.

"Kentucky Farm Bureau and UK have had a tremendous partnership for the past 25 years and have produced ag. teachers, Extension agents, doctors, lawyers, politicians, farmers and business owners," Headrick said. "I am excited to see where the next 25 years of IFAL take Kentucky agriculture."

For more information, contact a local Farm Bureau office or Headrick at 859-257-3469.