11 Ways Being An Ag Major Plants Your Seeds For Success

11 Ways Being An Ag Major Plants Your Seeds For Success

We might be that group of folks on campus that smell like cows with dirty jeans and boots, but we are gaining some incredible experiences that you won't find anywhere else.
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Most people think that everyone has at least a similar college experience. Clubs, organizations, classes, sororities/fraternities, internships, etc. Most classes are held in a classroom or lecture hall with air conditioning and chairs. You sit there and listen to a lecture, take notes, watch videos and maybe, if you're lucky, get something that is a little hands on.

Of course everyone's classes will differ when you become a junior or senior, but for the most part, your college experience resembles everyone else's.

Not if you're an Ag major.

I can honestly say that being an Ag major means that your college experience might just be a little "out there."

Here are a few ways being an Ag major will make your college experience a little different, but will also plant the seed for a successful future.

1. Class is never the same two days in a row.

From milking dairy cows to artificial insemination, class is never the same. You might smell horrible and be covered in cow poop to your knees, but class will never be boring.

2. The types of people you meet are endless.

In a few short months since the semester started, I have met magazine editor's from Cattlemen's Association, Food Animal Veterinarians, Purina Feed Sales Reps, equine industry professionals, horse trainers, dairy operation managers — the list goes on. All of these encounters are helping me to mold and shape my career path, and may also be future jobs.

3. The internship opportunities are all over the place, and available always.

What feeds us as a society? Agriculture. This is an extremely huge industry! The companies in this industry are huge and all over the place. Most all of them offer internships, and even some paid.

4. The degree you are getting will take you places.

If you're looking to get a degree that will take you places, a degree that you can get a job in pretty much any state, or sometimes country, then Ag is for you. From range flock operations out west, to a chicken operation in the south, the jobs are all over.

5. There will never be a shortage of jobs in this industry.

You know why there will never be a shortage of jobs in this industry? Food. That juicy hamburger in the picture? That yummy Chick-fil-a? Every aspect of that animal being produced, born, taken care of, processed, packaged, and turned into that yummy food sitting on your plate was done by someone in the Ag industry. With a degree in this industry, you're guaranteeing your future.

6. We are like one big family.

We are a large group of people brought together by our love for this industry. We work together because that is what this industry is all about. We have a care for animals, crops, educating our youth, 4H, etc., and we all understand how important our future jobs will be to the whole world.

7. You will be a more educated individual.

If you never use your degree to work any job in this industry, I can promise you that you will use your degree in everyday life. When you go to the grocery store, you will truly understand what the labels in the meat department mean. You will know better than to believe the scare tactics spread by the media about our beef. You will be able to identify cattle correctly instead of just calling everything a cow. You will understand so much more about what you eat and the environment we live in.

8. You will have a greater understanding and appreciation of animals.

Have you ever thought that the animals in the above picture were just big and dumb and just stand there eating grass all day? Have you ever passed them on the side of the road and maybe never thought of them at all? I can promise you that after a few semesters as an Ag major, you will definitely give these animals a second look when you pass, and you will have a sense of appreciation for these animals that supply a large portion of the food supply for our entire world.

9. The variety of jobs that you can get with this degree is large.

My major is Animal and Dairy Science. Most might think that the only thing you can do with that degree is be a veterinarian. That is so far from true. The jobs for this degree include feedlot managers, equine researchers, animal pharmaceutical sales, feed company sells, nutritionist, and the list goes on. If animals are your passion, but you don't think vet school is for you, then you still have options to get a job in the field being around what you love.

10. You literally get to be around animals every day in class.

Who doesn't love animals??? I think all college students would be in a little bit better mood if going to class consisted of learning about and seeing super cute animals. From newly born calves and foals to cats and dogs at the vet school, we see it all. And it's part of school!

11. Our professors are a little out there, too... but that's what makes it more interesting.

We don't come into class and see a super smart, not very nice professor sitting at the front of the room, that speaks monotone the whole time about some boring topic. Our professors are relatable. Yes, very smart, but they have real-world experience in what we are interested in. They didn't just go to college and then come teach. Many of them worked at feedlots, in research laboratories, for food companies, etc before they came to teach. They might occasionally cancel class for a research project with embryo transfers in horses, or come to class smelling like a dairy barn with muck boots on covered in... well, muck. They are enthusiastic but tough.

I hope this gives y'all a little insight into why being an Ag major will give you a different college experience. It's coming to class in jeans and boots, it's learning real-world knowledge, it's appreciating the beings that feed us all, and it's becoming a better individual with a better future.

Cover Image Credit: Sydney Lind Moore

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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The Best Decision I've Ever Made was doing Scientific Research

It opens up so many doors, and teaches you so much more about life then just what you're researching/

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Growing up, I have always been interested in science and why things happen the way they do. I've always asked why, and I've always wanted to dig deeper into some questions and topics. This is a natural part of life that many people do, and honestly more people should do throughout their lives.

Asking questions is something that can lead to change and to more answers and clarity. How? Simply through research and finding answers to these questions by ourselves.

In high school, I took a Science Research course, and I took it for three years. I researched a question I had always wondered about, which was how to predict severe weather more accurately. I was scared of it, and I wanted to find a solution to better protect/prepare myself and the people around me.

I didn't quite find the answer I was looking for or any answer for lack thereof, but I learned some incredibly valuable life skills and values. One of them being how to easily overwhelm Microsoft Excel by putting a million data points (I am not exaggerating) and trying to make into a graph.

Jokes aside, one of the bigger lessons I learned through scientific research is how to persevere through something that is tough. Meteorology is not a common interest nor is it a populated field, so getting someone to mentor me in this project was incredibly difficult and getting data for my experiment was even harder. It's kind of weird how something that impacts all of us and everything doesn't have a lot more people in the field.

Also, it's complex and there isn't a lot of uniformity to it. It's hard to find control variables and to find things that stay constant throughout because the weather is one of those things that are constantly changing. That's not fun when you're trying to run an experiment and trying to see what causes something to happen.

This ties into another lesson I've learned through scientific research, I learned how to problem solve and how to be resourceful. My experiment was difficult to run because I only had access to a few places to get data. I had to use things that gave me a million data points because I had to use things that documented every minute for an entire year.

It was a lot, and it was difficult. However, with the help of mentors and teachers, I persevered, and I learned how to make the most of the limited resources available to me. I learned how to analyze these new graphs that I've never analyzed before.

I learned how to read in between the lines and interpret things that weren't clear. It was hard, but now I can apply these skills to everything else I do in life. I learned more than what was related to my topic in science research.

Scientific research is an imperative thing to do because it teaches so much more than just your topic matter. It can teach you about life, and it gives you life skills that you will need to use in almost every other aspect of life. I know it has given them to me.

The best part about scientific research is that it can lead to a breakthrough. You can change the world by asking a question and running an experiment on an answer to that question. It's so weird that something that seems so simple (it's not that simple, but anyone can do it), can have such a profound impact.

Research can be done in anything, it can be done things that aren't heavily science-based like marketing or it can be a scientific approach to ballet. If there's a question or a gap in anything, then there is a way to find that answer. That could be running an experiment of your own.

If you have the opportunity, do research. It will change not only your life but the lives around you because it could lead to a breakthrough. That breakthrough could be something that our world needs.

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