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Two Eastern Kentucky University chapter officers have been selected to serve the national Delta Tau Alpha agriculture honor society for 2016-17.

Sydney Kleinert, a senior from Clifton, Illinois, and Bethany McKinney, a senior from Mount Vernon, Kentucky, are serving as national DTA president and secretary, respectively.

DTA – or “Dedicated to Agriculture” as it is often called by students – promotes high standards among its chapters, with the practice of ethics and scholarship as its main goals. EKU’s chapter recently elected its own officials and sponsored both women to run a campaign at the national level.

Both Kleinert and McKinney are agribusiness management majors. Having served the chapter since their junior year, the two are ready to tackle employment and life after graduation.

“My mom is my main inspiration,” McKinney said. “She has worked in agriculture all my life. Watching her was what got me interested. Delta Tau Alpha has made me a better person. It has brought me out of my shell (and) made me more involved with EKU.”

As national secretary, McKinney is responsible for recording the happenings at the national convention, as well as recording all communications among national officers throughout the year. “The EKU chapter has been trying to reach out to other schools for a while now. It’s my goal to make that communication easier.”

After graduation, McKinney hopes to offer subsidies to farmers, working within the USDA and Farm Service Agency.

Kleinert got involved in DTA last spring. “I wanted to make connections,” she said. “I grew up on a cattle farm, but we also had the largest sheep operation in the county. I saw how important it was to really know the people you work with, because raising livestock can be tricky.”

As president of both the local chapter and the national organization, Kleinert has many responsibilities. “It’s helped improve my leadership and organization skills, for sure,” she said.

Kleinert publishes a newsletter every month, has created a website for the national organization, and manages both the national and local chapter Facebook pages. She meets with advisors, and runs every meeting of the DTA, both locally and at national conferences.

“I’m really glad Bethany is here,” Kleinert said. “The other national officers are spread throughout Kansas, Tennessee, Texas and Missouri.”

McKinney is also secretary for the campus chapter, which has 41 members.

EKU agriculture students are no strangers to national leadership. Billy Cameron served as DTA national president in 2015.