Q. What is your background in agriculture?
A. My family has a cow/calf operation in Ainsworth, Neb. Growing up, I helped my dad on our operation and started buying my own cattle as part of my Supervised Agricultural Experience in FFA.
As a junior in high school, I had the opportunity to intern for my local economic development organization. This experience opened my eyes to the business and career opportunities in rural Nebraska, igniting my passion for rural community development.
Through this internship and serving as a state FFA officer, I realized my desire to work in a rural community with agricultural roots.
Q. How do you see yourself using your degree in the future?
A. I hope to pursue a career in rural economic and community development. I would also love to start my own business that helps communities remain vibrant. My degree in agribusiness will certainly benefit the work I hope to do with local businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in agriculture.
Q. What are you most proud of thus far in your education and pursuit of your career?
A. I am most proud of my involvement in developing the Engler Entrepreneurship Program. This program started my freshman year and has grown immensely during my time at UNL.
As I head into my senior year, it’s incredible to see the number of dedicated and passionate students that have helped to build this program that helps entrepreneurial students turn their business ideas into reality. With the support of fellow students, faculty members and mentors, I’m proud of the work I’ve accomplished on my business plan and the tangible results of the marketing efforts to grow the Engler Entrepreneurship Program.
Q. From the time you started your education until now, how has your perspective on agriculture and your specific interests changed?
A. Since I’ve started college, I’ve had the opportunity to take two international trips to study agriculture in other countries. My perspective has changed immensely, as I now view agriculture on the global scale rather than what agriculture looks like in my hometown and in Nebraska.
I have grown to appreciate what the industry offers — both the products agriculture provides and the careers that it offers.
It’s an exciting time to be a part of the agriculture industry.
Q. What are the most interesting things you’ve learned during your education?
A. I’ve really enjoyed all of my agriculture economic classes, especially farm and ranch management. It’s interesting to learn about managing family dynamics and relationships in addition to the finances behind the business.
I also was interested in rural community economics and learning about the various challenges and advantages to communities across Nebraska.
Q. For the area of agriculture in which you are interested, what do you believe are the biggest challenges?
A. Young people are moving to urban areas because they perceive that the big opportunities only exist in the city. Getting young people plugged into career opportunities and leadership positions is a challenge amongst rural communities.
Too often, students graduate high school with the misperception that there is no economic opportunity in their hometown, which isn’t the case. If leaders in rural communities invite young people to return home after college I think there will be a shift in the migration of young people to urban centers to rural communities to start or run businesses and contribute to the vitality and health of rural America.
Q. Twenty years from now, what do you hope to have contributed to the industry, and what do you think the industry overall will be like at that time?
A. In 20 years, I think the agriculture industry will have improved efficiency drastically through the use of technology and innovation. Agriculture is the backbone of our economy, so the industry will continue to provide career opportunities in rural communities for young people to fill.
I hope to contribute to the economic health and vibrancy of rural communities across the state by helping to bring young people into rural areas to fill these positions and create wealth in rural America. ❖