Advocacy and Outreach

Success secrets from a young ag professional

January 11, 2016
young ag professional

I am a student at Iowa State University, and I serve as a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences ambassador. In this role, I advise freshmen seeking career opportunities in agriculture and share some of my personal experiences with them to help them find their own paths to success. Here are a few tips I give incoming freshmen on becoming an ag professional:

Find your passion.
I wasn’t raised on a farm but instead realized my love for pigs and pork production in high school, when I began showing pigs in FFA. My affinity grew, and I went on to an internship with AVMC, where I worked with management to help implement care protocols on a 5,200-head sow operation. This experience helped me realize how much I enjoyed working directly with pork producers and pig caregivers.

Seek out new opportunities.
Internships are a great way to gain valuable career experience while making new contacts. I recently completed an internship with Zoetis, where I gave on-farm presentations to pig caregivers regarding the Individual Pig Care program. The in-barn training and education program teaches pig caregivers how to identify signs of illness sooner, which leads to better treatment outcomes.

The experience was phenomenal and really gave me an opportunity to connect more closely with pig caregivers while practicing presentation and organizational skills.

Be an advocate.
I better understand production practices after these internship experiences, and I take those lessons into conversations with consumers. Through social media, interaction with fellow students or just a chat with a stranger on an airplane, teaching opportunities are always present, and I enjoy talking with people about how food is produced.

Stand behind your passion and learn how to address consumer questions respectfully and in a way consumers will understand.

Utilize resources.
If you’re interested in learning more about internships and career opportunities in the pork industry, check out some of these helpful resources:
www.pigcareers.com
www.pork.org/human-resource-tools/careers-pork-production
swinecareers.com
www.nppc.org/programs

I’m excited to see what the future holds for me and others pursuing education in animal agriculture. If it’s is as bright as the students I encounter every day, I can tell you we’re in good shape.

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