For Wyoming native, Ireland the next stop on her life-long road of ag-vocacy
Age: 21 Hometown: Casper, Wyo.
I’m a graduating senior at University of Wyoming, majoring in agriculture communications, minoring in farm and ranch management, honors program, and international agriculture economics.
Currently, I’m completing an internship in Washington, D.C. with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council, and was a legislative intern in the office of Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., in 2011.
Q: What do you love about agriculture?
A: To state the obvious, I love everything about agriculture.
We operate in a unique paradigm that allows our way of life to also be a value set, moral standard and an economic process — the combination of which is quite rare.
Agriculture is not just an industry that considers a simple destination — it considers the end goal and uses the best resources and best people to get the job done.
Q: What is your background in ag?
A: Although my family had a few cattle when I was very young and I grew up primarily riding horses, my true education began when I worked for a feedlot and eventually joined FFA.
The ranchers who shaped my young-adult life deserve the credit for showing me the challenges of the industry and urging me to use my talents to the benefit of the industry.
Q: What are your future plans in ag?
A: All too often, residents of rural areas remain unheard in the political arena, despite valuable practical knowledge of industry realities and challenges facing rural communities.
Legislators and politicians alike are often far removed from the farming and ranching backgrounds of previous generations, and impractical legislative action restricts the ability of agriculturalists to provide the best quality product to feed and clothe the American people.
Following my graduate studies, I plan to pursue a career in policy analysis to ensure farmers and ranchers have a voice in the formation of policy that affects them directly.
Q: What are you doing today to pursue those future plans?
A: To address these issues, I will begin the Masters of Science in Environmental Policy Programme at University College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland this fall.
While on a study abroad in 2012, I found the manner in which the government and producers maintained a collaborative relationship to be quite different than the relationship here in the United States.
Through this graduate program, I will have the ability to study the relationship between the parties to increase the efficiency with which we work here in the US.
Q: How are your current activities preparing you for that future?
A: Currently, I am completing a policy internship with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council in Washington D.C.
I feel quite fortunate to be learning from folks who are passionate about agriculture, legislative reform and ensuring the agricultural community will continue to be an economical, sustainable, and efficient industry.
As an intern, I am able to observe and participate in the construction of policy and truly learn to be a more effective ag-vocate.
Q: What do you think the agriculture industry will be like in 25 years?
A: In the increasingly globalized world in which we live, I feel the next 25 years will bring great change for the agriculture industry.
If the last 25 years are any indication, we will become more sustainable, efficient and profitable, while maintaining the quality agricultural products of which we are so proud.
I predict we will become much more mobile, increasing the ability and cost-efficiency with which we transport our product, given that international trade is such a significant consideration.
Undoubtedly, the core tenets of agriculture will never change, and as the world changes we will adjust accordingly. ❖