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USDA Names Participants in 2024 Future Leaders in Agriculture Program

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2024 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the selection of 20 undergraduate and graduate students as the 2024 winners of the USDA Future Leaders in Agriculture program. The selected students hail from land-grant universities and Hispanic-serving institutions (HSI).

“The Future Leaders Program is at the heart of our efforts to cultivate an agricultural workforce as diverse as America itself,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These students represent the exciting future of agriculture, and USDA is committed to fostering their development which is essential to ensuring a robust and sustainable food system.”

Now in its 17th year, the USDA Future Leaders in Agriculture program is aimed at undergraduates and graduate students majoring in agriculture-related subjects, including business, economics, communications, nutrition, food science, and pre-veterinary studies. The program seeks students who exhibit leadership at their university or in their community. For their applications, undergraduate students wrote essays on “Agriculture as a Career,” while graduate students explored “The Greatest Challenge Facing Agriculture over the Next Five Years.”

Program winners will travel to Washington, D.C., in February to tour the nation’s capital and attend USDA’s premier annual event, the Agricultural Outlook Forum. They will also participate in several USDA briefings, gaining numerous opportunities for career development with leaders at USDA.

Dedicated to building and sustaining the next generation of agriculturalists, the Future Leaders in Agriculture Program is supported by the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Farm Credit and USDA agencies.

The 2024 Future Leaders Program winners are:





University Type*

Alaina Brock

Raleigh, N.C.

North Carolina A&T State University


Jaclyn Bryant

Frederick, Md.

Purdue University


Emma Chaplin

Camp Hill, Pa.

Pennsylvania State University


Hugh Clarke

Spokane, Wash.

Oregon State University


Alan Cruz

Yuma, Ariz.

University of Arizona Yuma


Donovan Grady

Mardela Springs, Md.

University of Maryland Eastern Shore


Kylee Henneberry

Hartford, Wisc.

West Texas A&M University


Johanna Hibma

Winton, Calif.

California State University, Stanislaus


Kaitlynn Hughes

Royse City, Texas

Texas A&M University


Jayland Jones

Lufkin, Texas

Prairie View A&M University


Terrell Mason

Lake Charles, La.

Southern University


Kevin Painchaud

Bedford, Va.

Virgina Tech


EmmaRae Parsons

Moscow, Idaho

University of Idaho


Randall Pickering

Orangeburg, S.C.

South Carolina State University


Benjamin Steller

Tucson, Ariz.

Northern Arizona University






University Type*

John Bagwell

Rome, Ga.

University of Georgia


Katie Dames

Flossmoor, Ill.

Tuskegee University


Danielle Klawitter

Santa Cruz, Calif.

University of California Santa Cruz


Lidia Komondy

Grand Rapids, Mich.

Cornell University


Zachary Williams

Lanham, Md.

University of Maryland Eastern Shore


(*1862 land-grant universities, 1890 land-grant universities, and Hispanic-serving institutions)

Learn more about the Future Leaders Program and register for the 2024 USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production and fairer markets for all producers. USDA is dedicated to ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers. In order to reach these goals, USDA encourages the use of climate smart food and forestry practices. USDA is making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America and is committed to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit


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