Engaging Tomorrow’s Ag Youth

Engaging Tomorrow's Ag Youth

Long ago a young lady was chosen for a agricultural leadership program where she not only made lifelong friends, but made connections with ag leaders from around the state. This leadership program opened her eyes to the wealth of possibilities in the ag industry and this youngster developed a plan of action of how she would make her mark in ag.

The youngster was me and the program was the Missouri Agribusiness Academy (MAbA). I was a sophomore in high school and knew nothing, although I thought I knew everything.

MAbA helped my discover a facet of career options in agriculture available to me and presented me with numerous networking opportunities.

Through the years I have been asked to speak to the MAbA class almost every year about my job, passion and how these youngsters can make their positive mark in agriculture.

I spoke to the group once again in June and I found myself in a totally different realm than ever before. I was tenured, the mother of two children, a spouse for almost 10 years and well…older. What could I possibly have to say to these students anymore? I have nothing in common with them…or do I?

As I pondered for weeks on what I would say, my husband said one evening, “tell them who you are and how you got there.” That’s too simple…or was it?

I’ve listened and talked with many ag leaders throughout my young career and the questions I always asked them were the same: where did you start at and how did you get to where you are now?

My presentation to the 2013 MAbA class was simple: Find Your Passion and Give Back. I explained my route to the place I am now in my life. I’ve traveled a life with ups and downs, high and lows, big successes and bigger failures – BUT I came out on top because I followed my passion and I continue to give back. My passion: Telling the Story of Agriculture. Giving Back: to my family, to my community and to our future ag youth. It starts and ends with tomorrow’s youth. It’s as simple as that!

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