AFA and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation Announce 40 Chances Fellows

Kansas City, Mo. – April 22, 2013 – Each person has approximately 40 Chances – or 40 years – in his or her adult life to make a positive impact on the world. In partnership with the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and its 40 Chances awareness campaign, Agriculture Future of America has selected 40 freshmen students to take part in the 40 Chances Fellows program.

The 40 Chances Fellows program was created last November when the Foundation presented AFA with a grant sponsoring 40 of the 2012 freshman delegates to attend the next three years of AFA Leaders Conference. Students applied and were interviewed as part of a competitive selection process. The 40 Fellows were chosen based on their desire and potential to impact global food security issues.

Inspired by this grant, AFA has expanded the program to provide additional opportunities, based on AFA’s four primary programmatic pillars: self-assessment, communication, managing change and life-long learning. Components of the 40 Chances Fellows program include a leader development portfolio, value-added internships, interaction with the Foundation and the option of an international capstone experience. Over the course of the four years, students will be closely mentored by AFA staff as well as other industry professionals.

The 40 Chances Fellows will spend extensive time exploring agriculture and food related issues, especially related to addressing world hunger. As the agriculture industry is faced with feeding more people with fewer resources, this next generation of agriculture leaders has many challenges and opportunities. The program’s objective is to give this group of student leaders an edge when it comes time to graduate, equipping them to make significant contributions to agriculture and food related issues.

Selected 40 Chances Fellows
Jared Baird, Purdue University Morgan Beach, University of Missouri Meghan Bennett, The Ohio State University Jessica Blosberg, University of Minnesota Jordan Bonham, The Ohio State University Adam Chesser, University of Missouri Emma Christensen, South Dakota State University Danielle Cooney, University of Illinois Shelby Cooper, University of Illinois Wesley Davis, West Virginia University Bradley Dillner, Missouri State University Luke Drachenberg, University of Wisconsin Kate Griswold, University of Wisconsin Jenica Hagler, Washington State University Ryan Hanousek, University of Nebraska Kevin Hanson, University of Minnesota Jessica Harsh, Purdue University John Holland, Clemson University Lindsay King, Oklahoma State University Tate Klocke, Iowa State University Austin Liepold, University of Minnesota Sara Linn, Oklahoma State University Michael Long, University of Wisconsin Sarah Maurer, University of Illinois Scott McDermott, The Ohio State University Chandler Mulvaney, Chattahoochee Valley Nicholas Neumann, University of Missouri Corey Petersen, University of Minnesota Nolan Sampson, Purdue University Rachel Schroeder, North Dakota State University Brice Schulte, The Ohio State University Kayla Seidler, North Dakota State University Daryl Simmons, Butler Community College Colleen Smith, Cornell University Amber Sparenberg, Purdue University Adam Striegel, Iowa State University Haley Thompson, University of Missouri Rebecca Travis, Missouri State University David Van Klompenburg, South Dakota State University Matthew Welter, Iowa State University


About AFA AFA’s mission is to create partnerships that identify, encourage and support outstanding college men and women who are preparing for careers in the agriculture and food industry. With student participation increasing 70 percent in the last five years, AFA leader development programs have impacted 9,000 college leaders and young professionals from more than 200 colleges and universities throughout 43 states since its inception in 1996. AFA has awarded more than $8 million in academic and leader development scholarships. For more information about AFA, visit or contact Megan Karlin at

About 40 Chances and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation We all have about 40 chances to make our mark in the world – 40 productive years during our careers. Farmers know this well, since they can expect only about 40 growing seasons, or 40 chances to improve on every harvest. And the Howard G. Buffett Foundation has given itself the same deadline: 40 years to put more than $3 billion to work helping the most vulnerable people on earth – nearly a billion individuals who lack basic food security. To find out more, visit

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