My newsfeed on Facebook is blowing up with pictures of kids heading back to school today. They are decked out in new shoes and sweatshirts with brand new school supplies ready for a new year of learning.
Just like them, I started last week going back to school. I didn’t get new shoes or a bookbag, but my mom did pick me up some Tinkerbell folders.
I am going back to complete my graduate degree in Agricultural Communications and Education. After some long nights and lots of thinking I decided to pursue my degree through the Ag*Idea program through Kansas State. Some might call me crazy, others are wondering how this fits with my other degrees and others think agriculture is a dying industry.
In my opinion, an industry that feeds you is an industry worth fighting for. It is not dying. It is transforming, growing and intensifying every single day. We are learning to do more with less, have a smaller carbon footprint, instilling best practices, studying weather patterns and growth rate, using science to reduce pesticide use, learning about green energy and more in agriculture every single day.
Why wouldn’t I want to be part of that?
I’ve always loved communications, marketing and public relations. My internships with my two other degrees always revolved around event management, public relations, social media and marketing. I knew there had to be a way to combine my passion for agriculture with my love of all of those things.
I decided to further my education in agriculture for just those reasons. I know this is what I was meant to do, to advocate for ag. To be a voice of reason and passion about agriculture. I am one of those people who works crazy hours, who drives combine, who brings her husband home at 1am from the field, who grew up learning the circle of life from pigs, sheep and cattle. I grew up in agriculture, and it just took me a little while to figure out that was where I was meant to be.
I’ve been blessed this summer to hold an internship with the MN Farm Bureau where I was given the chance to meet some amazing farmers and some amazing people working in the ag industry. I was able to visit my friend Wanda’s farm who writes the blog Minnesota Farm Living as part of my internship. I was so impressed with their farm from the care the pigs were given to how they mix their own feed to ensure the right nutrients are given to the pigs. Her and her husband were both so passionate about what they do as I talked to them, that it added fuel to my own fire about why I’m passionate about agriculture. Listening to them, made me realize that my husband and I are on the right path and choosing to come back home to the farm was the right decision.
It wasn’t an easy one either. I left a good job in the health and wellness industry, teaching others how to lead healthier lives. I already had two degrees. I myself questioned what I was supposed to be doing. The decision was hard, but so worth it to be working an industry that I love.
I hope one day I can find a full-time job in agriculture, one that I’m proud to be at. One where I’m making a difference for the man or woman behind the tractor, the one who wakes up at 4am to milk cows or stays up all night checking on a sick steer. The one who makes sure their pigs have all the right nutrients to grow healthy and strong to provide nutritious food for all of us. I want to work for them. I want to make a difference for them. So they can continue to tell their story, why they are passionate about farming, but also so they can keep doing what they love doing. Farming.
It’s important. It’s important because our lives depend on them every single day. From medicines, to cardboard boxes to yes, food. We all need to advocate for farmers, and as of last Monday, that’s what my graduate degree will focus on.