By Paige McFarland, Intern
Kansas Corn, Kansas Grain Sorghum
I am a Kansas farm girl and also the newest face in the Kansas Corn, Kansas Grain Sorghum office in Garnett, Kansas. I am taking on a summer internship to better my knowledge of the agriculture industry and also taking a huge step toward my future career.
Our family farm is located about five miles south of Ottawa. My dad farms roughly 2,000 acres of corn, wheat and soybeans combined, with approximately half of that being corn.
This fall I will be a sophomore at Kansas State University pursuing a double major in Agriculture Communications and Agriculture Education. I am transferring from Hutchinson Community College where I studied ag education and also played on the HCC softball team.
In my trek to Hutchinson for my freshman year of college, I said goodbye to my 4-H Club, FFA chapter and also my family farm. Going to college, I left the peace and quiet of living in the country. Let me tell you, living in the city is a TOTALLY different atmosphere after living in the country for the first 18 years of your life. Lying in bed, I heard sirens and yelling outside of my dorm room instead of the familiar sound of crickets and coyotes howling.
4-H and FFA have been important parts of my life. I was a 12 year member of the Rambling Ranchers 4-H club based in Ottawa. Throughout my 12 years I held numerous offices including Historian, Recreation Leader, Trip Committee, 4-H Council Representative and President. These leadership roles were overwhelming and scary at first, but during the 12 years, I found my place in the Rambling Ranchers 4-H club and 4-H found its way to my heart.
After gaining knowledge from 4-H and hearing what the older 4-Hers had to say about FFA, I discovered that was something I would come to love as well. I was a three-year member of the Ottawa FFA chapter. I participated in career development events such as Parliamentary Procedure, Ag Communications, Dairy Foods Judging, Food Science, and also Nursery and Landscape. During my three years I was the Chapter Photographer, Vice President and President. FFA became very influential in my life during those three years of my high school career.
It was during my high school years that I decided Agriculture was definitely the field that I wanted to pursue a career in. I had been on the fence between education and some sort of Ag major so I decided, why not Ag education? I’ll have the best of both worlds! After hearing the way some of my classmates interpreted the so-called “life on the farm”, I was in awe of how uninformed the average American citizen could be. Growing up on the farm I just assumed that everybody had the same knowledge about agriculture as I did, but I couldn’t have been more wrong!
During my high school Ag Business class, we spent a class period discussing input and output prices for the average farmer. We first discussed the total returns of farmers after harvest. It was then that I heard a kid that sat in the back of the classroom mutter, “Man, I wish my parents were farmers.” Being a farmer’s daughter I couldn’t help but laugh at this statement, I replied laughing, “Just wait, we aren’t finished.” Then we talked about the endless expenses of equipment and machinery, seed, fertilizer and everything else that it takes to run a farm. I turned around again and the boy’s jaw had dropped. That day was enough to open my eyes as well to notice how important advocating for agriculture really is.
This summer I will spend the majority of my time learning more about the business side of the agriculture industry instead of the hands-on experience I gained growing up on the farm. I am very eager to broaden my horizons this summer and make the most of this great experience. I believe in the future of agriculture, do you?
Follow me on Twitter! @ksgrainbrain