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WSU student explores agricultural policy at national conference

Posted by scott.weybright | April 20, 2020
By Julia Layland, CAHNRS Academic Programs

Dianna Sanchez was one of 11 collegiate students chosen from all over the nation to participate in the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture conference. This year’s annual conference was held in February in Washington D.C. Dianna represented WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resources (CAHNRS) and Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) this year.

Large group of people in formal clothes in a large room.
Dianna Sanchez and the MANHRS team, pictured with Commissioner Jewel Bronaugh, Secretary Jeff Witte, Director Alexis Taylor, and Deputy Secretary Fred Strathmeyer.

“Being an advocate for the agricultural industry is very important at the governmental level, and I work with outside pest control and it has to be advocated by someone,” Dianna said.

The conference allowed her to explore her passion for agriculture and meet with the Directors, Secretaries and Commissioners from Washington State and those of our Western Region. The team discussed how the state departments advocate for agricultural policy and what different roles the state plays in creating federal policy. During this time, they also learned about policy making during meetings and how informative panels function to help make decisions regarding the policies.

Dianna is a WSU senior and CAHNRS Ambassador from Chelan, Washington and will graduate this spring from the Fruit and Vegetable Management program. Dianna and her fellow attendees were included in an Agriculture Policy Summit and met with the Western Regional Committee to discuss current issues affecting agriculture today. This included issues like soil health and how to prevent diseases of the soil while still moving toward sustainability. Dianna was able to advocate for these issues and add her own personal opinion while participating as a panelist. Participating in panels through the summit allows collegiate students to learn about policy making first-hand.

The summit allowed her to experience the importance of having advocates for all aspects of the agricultural industry in order to create policy that is productive and beneficial. However, combining different ideas and suggestions that will impact the nation isn’t an easy task.

“There are so many different perspectives that it makes it difficult to make decisions,” Diana said. “It is important to have diverse leaders and that the policy leaders should represent the population.”

Diana met and talked with many other panelists and was struck by the sincerity of the different officials.

“Every panelist was genuine and not afraid to share what they had to overcome to get where they are,” she said.

Dianna is looking forward to graduating from CAHNRS and pursuing her passion for agriculture. She will work at Stemilt Growers in Wenatchee after she finishes her degree in May.