Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking at the Harrisburg High School FFA’s annual banquet.
I asked on facebook what I should talk about, I got a variety of answers so I tried to touch on all of it.
Nine years ago I walked the halls of this high school. Since then I have worked as a cheese maker, milk truck driver, pasteurizer, lobbyists’ intern, Farm Credit banker and now farmer. I graduated from Washington State University in 2008 with two degrees one in General Agriculture and one in Agricultural Economics & Management. I am currently president of Oregon Women for Agriculture and an AgChat Foundation Board member.
All of that wouldn’t be possible without agriculture and following what I am passionate about.
I love talking about agriculture and issues facing farmers and ranchers. I love using social media. I often use social media to talk about farming.
In 2009 I joined twitter to participate in a weekly twitter conversation about agriculture called #Agchat. Little did I know what a few tweets would turn into. I started a blog in February 2011 to expand on my tweets and facebook posts. In August 2011 I attended my first AgChat Foundation AgVocacy 2.0 conference.
The mission of the AgChat Foundation is to “Empower farmers and ranchers through social media.” The conferences offer training to better your social media skills and use them to engage others about farming, ranching and where their food comes from. In December of 2011 they asked me to be on their board.
I now chair the #agchat & #Foodchat conversations on twitter. #Agchat happens every Tuesday from 5 pm to 7 pm except every 3rd Tuesday when #FoodChat takes place. In June, I am going to New York City on behalf of the AgChat Foundation to another type of social media conference to discuss knowing your farmer through the twitter chats.
It is amazing where following your passion will lead you. I encourage you to do just that. Find your passion and live it.
If you are passionate about agriculture then there are limitless possibilities of where that could lead you. Ag offers variety of opportunities and options.
Currently 1 in 8 jobs in Oregon are tied to agriculture. While not everyone can be a farmer and not everyone can be an ag banker. If you want to pursue a career in agriculture it’s more than possible. Look at the variety of jobs I had in the past 9 years, they all involved agriculture of some type.
My freshman year of college I was not quite sure the direction I wanted to go in. A mentor told me to get a degree in Agriculture because a politic science degree was a dime a dozen. And it was true. I graduated right when a recession was happening. My friends who didn’t have experience or a degree in agriculture had trouble finding jobs. While the majority of us “ag kids” had jobs lined up.
Bottom line is that the experience you are getting being involved in FFA and ultimately agriculture is priceless to the success of your future.