Advocating For Agriculture

Kristin believes everyone involved in agriculture needs to understand the policy discussions at the local, state and national level.

Liska, a junior in animal science, believes in proactively telling the story
of agriculture. That’s the message she shared in an animal science class preparing to tour Midwest farms and agricultural industries this summer.

“It’s important for producers to under- stand the discussion behind the issues and provide input because it can affect their operation,” Liska says.

Being selected for the Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Program was an important achievement for Liska, who says she couldn’t wait to participate. In March, the group met at the Iowa Statehouse in Des Moines to learn how to approach Iowa’s policy leaders. The group holds informational meetings throughout the year.

This summer Liska has an internship with a company that fits into her advocacy goal. She’s working for CMA—a public relations company in Kansas City that reviews agricultural topics, gathers expert opinions and publishes stories.

“The groups that produce negative articles about agriculture are not talking to farmers, they are talking to consumers,” Liska says. “That’s what we need to do. We need to share our story and show consumers that we care about animals, we care about water quality and we care about the land.”

As she enters her senior year, Liska plans to continue her ambitious schedule. Last semester she helped organize the 93rd National Block and Bridle convention—the first time the event has been held in Ames. This fall she’s co-chairing the first annual BaconFest event, which will be held on campus in October.

“The BaconFest is challenging because we normally have a final report from the previous year to help plan an event, but this is a first time event,” Liska says. “We just have
to grab it by the horns and go.”

The toughest choice Liska’s made is changing her career focus. She grew up thinking she would be a veterinarian, but figured out that she was more interested in communications and advocating for agriculture.

Curtis Youngs, an animal science faculty adviser, says Liska is an energized leader who exudes enthusiasm. During his 23 years of academic advising, Youngs consistently shares a message with his students—be passionate about what
you do.

“That’s what I preach to students,” Youngs says. “They will spend most
of their lives at work, so it’s important to find a career which they can passionately pursue. Kristin has found that in agricultural advocacy.”

Liska received a Legacy Scholarship as both of her parents graduated from Iowa State. Her parents, Bob (’87 agronomy) and Stephanie (’87 public service and administration in agriculture), live in Wayne, Nebraska.