Unstuck: How I found my niche working in Agriculture

Maria Wingert

Maria Wingert

By Maria Wingert, MCGA Agvocate

After growing up on a family farm and being active in 4-H and the National FFA Organization, there was no doubt in my 18-year-old mind that I would pursue a degree, and someday, a career in agriculture.

However, while I loved showing cattle and doing chores, production agriculture just wasn’t for me.

After coming to the University of Minnesota — Twin Cities in the fall of 2012, I realized that although my major is Agriculture Education, I didn’t have a passion for teaching, either. Like many other students, I was stuck.

As I became more comfortable on campus and with different courses the University of Minnesota offers, I wandered into Journalism 1001 in the spring of my freshman year and finally found my passion.

In high school I had loved Prepared Public Speaking contests in FFA and lived for my AP English class, but it had never occurred to me to pursue something that wasn’t directly involved in agriculture. While I soon realized that there are a multitude of journalists, public relations specialists, and advertising executives that work in agriculture, it took that first journalism class for me to discover that you don’t have to live on a farm to be an advocate for farmers and agriculture.

Last summer I was hired as an intern at CHS Inc., an agribusiness headquartered in Minnesota that partners with farmers all around the world. Although I work in a corporate office, I write articles, plan events, and create marketing materials with the sole purpose of assisting CHS create a better world for farmers.

My internship has been instructive and intriguing, but most of all, it has been rewarding. Although I am far from my little farm in Wabasha County, I can’t imagine a better career path to pursue, and am excited to continue working in agriculture communications in the future.

While agriculture journalism, public relations, and advertising positions are an excellent career avenue to pursue, they aren’t the only options students have.

Co-ops in small towns or large company headquarters in the Twin Cities are all seeking agriculture students to fill positions at all levels. Internships for students and full-time positions for graduates are constantly opening within all types of workplaces. All are searching for the most suitable talent for their company.

Growing up on a farm gives students an amazing edge when seeking a career in all types of fields. Don’t forget to put your agriculture work experience on your resume — even if it’s not on-farm.

Not an agriculture student, or didn’t grow up on a farm? Look for my next post, coming next week, for tips on how to land a job or internship within the growing and competitive agriculture field.
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Maria Wingert grew up on a family farm in Wabasha County. She currently attends the University of Minnesota and is a Minnesota Corn Growers Association Agvocate.

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