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Local student to attend national ag forum
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California State University, Stanislaus student Petros Maskal will join 19 other university juniors and seniors at the United States Department of Agriculture’s 2015 Agricultural Outlook Forum titled “Smart Agriculture in the 21st Century” as part of the Student Diversity Program.

“The Outlook Forum will help give these students the chance to lay the groundwork for their future, hear speakers from diverse backgrounds in ag-related professions and, like previous program winners, the Forum will help the students expand their opportunities in their chosen fields,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

A program implemented to effectively increase the present and future diversity participation at the Forum, the Student Diversity Program supplies scholarship opportunities for junior and senior baccalaureate students to attend this annual gathering.

“This sounds exciting,” said Maskal. “I am very humbled.”

To be selected for the Forum, Maskal had to effectively address “Agriculture as a Career” in a compelling one-page essay. Ten graduate students were also selected based on their essays addressing “The Greatest Challenge Facing Agriculture over the Next Five Years.”

During the two-day event, Maskal will be introduced to contemporary agribusiness, future trends, scientific research and agricultural policy in today’s real world environment.

As part of the Student Diversity Program, Maskal will also experience two additional days prior to the event, where he will be introduced to career opportunities, as well as tour USDA’s Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and the National Plant Materials Center.

The USDA’s 2015 Agricultural Outlook Forum is scheduled for Feb. 19 and 20 in Arlington, Virginia. For more information, visit