In support of its commitment to 4-H, education and the development of the next generation of leaders in the agricultural industry, Merck Animal Health is sponsoring the Young Advocates for Agriculture Award. The 2015 award, which honors a high school student for his or her grassroots advocacy efforts in support of the agricultural industry, was presented to Jacob Shuman at this year’s Cattle Feeders Business Summit.

Shuman, of Ross County, Ohio, was recognized for his “TEACH Bs” (Teens Educating Adults & Children About Honey Bees) program, designed to help educate community youth about honey bees and their contribution to agriculture. Making presentations at local elementary schools, Shuman explained the different roles of queen, worker and drone bees, and discussed how the bees pollinate crops, which helps support their growth.

“It is vital that we help provide enriching educational experiences like these to future generations of industry leaders,” said Jim Miles, Merck Animal Health. “By teaching these students about the importance of sharing their experiences and perspectives, we hope they will be inspired to advocate on the industry’s behalf – today and in the future.”

The advocacy award is an extension of the 4-H National Youth Agri Science Summit, held earlier this year. Sponsored by Merck Animal Health, the summit provided opportunities for 4-H high school students to develop the skills and knowledge needed help address the many challenges facing agriculture, food security and sustainability. By participating in the summit, Shuman gained a better understanding of the current state of the industry and the growing need for the story of agriculture to be told.

“We need to educate others, especially our youth, that our work is not just about farming,” Shuman said. “I’ve learned that many people don’t know a lot about where there food comes from, how it’s raised or the value the industry brings to our world. Since I live and work in agriculture, I understand that I am responsible for helping to tell that story.”

“Growing and empowering confident young people to prepare them for careers in agriculture is crucial to advancing the farming industry,” said Jill Bramble, senior vice president and chief development officer, National 4-H Council. “By working with Merck Animal Health, 4-H’ers are able to learn about new innovations and technologies in the agriculture industry and share them with their families, peers and communities. They also develop skills that will help them in future agricultural careers.”