Where did you travel to?
What's your background in agriculture?
I grew up outside of a small town in Northeast Iowa, where my family farms row crop—corn and soybeans. My involvement in agriculture, however, truly began when I became active in my FFA chapter in high school. From there, I gained insight about the industry and decided that it was the career path I wanted to pursue.
What is the most interesting agriculture industry you saw on your trip?
While in South Africa, we saw a vast array of agriculture. In fact I was surprised by how much the country looked like home or, at least, the Midwest. I enjoyed learning about the indigenous Bonsmara cattle breed, meeting with the largest Boer goat farmer in the world, seeing acres upon acres of vegetables being grown like typical row crops, as finding out the specialty of crocodile farming. Add that to touring a grain elevator and walking some of the white maize (corn) fields.
The most interesting agricultural industry I saw on the trip, however, was the grape industry. In Western South Africa near Cape Town, there is a large presence of grape farming, whether it be fermenting for wine or growing for table grapes. On one of our last days in the country, we took a tour of “SATGI” or South Africa Table Grape Industry. There we were able to walk through the vineyards, washing and packing rooms, and cooling facilities. If that wasn’t enough, we were able to enjoy some of the freshly picked grapes at the farm. I’ve never tasted a grape so sweet! All in all, every facet of the agricultural industry represented in South Africa left a lasting impression that makes me want to return as soon as I can.
Why are you a FarmHer and what does agriculture mean to you?
If you had asked me what my careers goals were as a freshman in high school, I would have responded by telling you, “Well, I plan to go to medical school and become a pediatrician.” Despite growing up on a farm, I had no intentions of returning to the agricultural industry. Yet, through my experience in FFA and opportunity to learn more about the industry, my passion for agriculture became incredibly strong.
I am and will forever be a FarmHer because I know that I can serve others through any occupation I take on in agriculture. While we were in South Africa, one of the executives at Senwes (a South African grain link company) said this: “Success without service to others is meaningless.” I completely agree with this statement and thoroughly believe that we have been placed on Earth for a specific purpose—to serve others. Agriculture allows us to do so as we grow the food, protect the environment, stabilize the economy, and feed the world. Agriculture will always be a foundation of our livelihood, seeing that it is our source of food, shelter, clothing, fuel, and more. I am committed to serving others and providing them with the livelihood they enjoy.