College students from across the country will have the opportunity to take action for animal agriculture this fall when the College Aggies Online Scholarship Program (CAO) returns for the eighth consecutive year. Registration is open now and sponsorship opportunities are available for this year’s competition, which kicks off on Sept. 19.

CAO, an initiative of the Animal Agriculture Alliance, is aimed at helping college students harness their passion for animal agriculture to become confident, positive and proactive communicators. Since its inception in 2009, more than 4,000 students have competed in the program. Learn more about CAO by watching this brief video.

“CAO is one of the main highlights I look forward to when I return to school this fall,” said Jessica Dawn Miller, a graduate student at Oklahoma State University and the individual winner of the 2015 competition. “I learned so many things in those nine weeks and applied them after the event ended. I am much better at advocating for agriculture and I help teach visitors at our school dairy farm about where their milk comes from and handle their questions with confidence I didn’t have before CAO.”

The nine-week competitive program will prepare students to become lifelong positive representatives of the agriculture industry. In addition to gaining valuable skills, scholarship funds and other prizes will be up for grabs. During the program, students receive weekly assignments ranging from writing a blog post, creating an infographic, attending webinars hosted by industry experts and more. Participants earn points by posting content promoting and explaining agriculture on social media.

Student organizations can also participate as a group and complete club challenges. These challenges include holding an “Ag Day” on campus, teaching at local elementary schools, handing out candy wrapped with meat myths and facts, and many more. The clubs receive points for each challenge they complete.

“Animal agriculture needs as many skilled ambassadors as possible, and CAO is our way of preparing the next generation of ag-vocates,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “Help us spread the word to all college students interested in agriculture about this unique opportunity to connect with industry experts, engage with their peers on campus and protect the future of our industry – all while competing for scholarship funds along the way!”

To learn more about the competition and how to sign up as a competitor, either individually or on behalf of your club, please visit the Alliance website.

CAO would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors. 2016 sponsors include: Dairy Management, Inc., National Pork Industry Foundation, National Turkey Federation’s 20 by 2020 project, Ohio Poultry Association and Florida Dairy Farmers.