Knowledge Center Blog

Welcome to the Farm Credit Knowledge Center Blog!  This blog is a combination of posts from industry experts, Knowledge Center staff and guest contributors covering all aspects of agriculture and life in the country.  We want you to participate in this blog, sharing your thoughts and comments about the topics posted here.

Agricultural Role Models

Role models.  We all have them.  People we look up to, admire, imitate.  In honor of National Inspirational Role Model Month, the Knowledge Center team wanted to share with you about their role models in the agriculture industry...
 

Kyley Clevenger – Knowledge Center Director

When I think of an agriculture role model, I can’t think of just one in particular. There have been many people in the industry that I have crossed paths with or have even worked beside that have stood out or someone that I consider admirable, dedicated and passionate around agriculture. This industry that I’m able and blessed to be a part of is busting at the seams with those who are producers, ranchers, educators, representatives, ag policymakers, etc. that believe in and are passionate around the food, fiber and fuel that supplies this country and even bigger yet, this world.
These role models are up before the sun and finished long after the sun has gone down, their animals are cared for before themselves, the land is tended to through long hours and months of planning and they raise their families in an environment that is comprised of compassion, hard work and an appreciation for each and every day. No, it is not easy and there are trying days or obstacles that we all have to overcome or work around however, they never give up because they believe in and love what they do… day in and day out. And it’s a sense of community. The comradery, fellowship and respect that is exhibited in this industry is exemplary.
So as you can tell, I am amazed each and every day by the stewardship, humbleness and selflessness that encompasses agriculture. To me, a role model is a multitude of defining characteristics, actions, beliefs and morals. I come across, as I’m sure you do, each and every day a role model in agriculture that I can admire, appreciate and thank. Just as the great Paul Harvey said, “And on the 8th day God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So, God made a farmer.”
 

Sarah Scypers – Knowledge Center Program Specialist

Growing up in agriculture the number of influences in my life that encouraged me toward a degree in agriculture and then a career seem abundant. However, my greatest role models in agriculture never once tried to influence my decisions for furthering my education or my career. My biggest role models in agriculture are my father and his father, my grandfather. I watched both of these men make sacrifices  in order to continue doing what they loved to do, farm, while feeding and caring for their family. My grandfather farmed in Radford and Riner, VA before picking up his family and purchasing a farm in Floyd, VA. From there he carved out a place for them on a farm he had purchased raising cattle, hogs, chickens, huge gardens, crops and logging. Having been raised on a farm, my father knew what hard work was and knew how to make a living doing it. After attending Ferrum College for a time he came back to the farm and continued working alongside his father and brother. After facing the dramatics price fluctuations in the 1990’s my father decided he needed to diversify in order to avoid getting a job off the farm. I watched as he worked to decide what that should be, shadowing other farmers, talking to construction companies, deciding how much work we could do on our own to save money and landed on one of the hardest commodities to produce, milk. He started a dairy on our farm as I was graduating high school. We all put in long hours getting everything going and learning exactly what we were doing but no one worked harder than he did. Listening to stories of my grandfather’s move and starting a farm and witnessing my dad sacrifice so much to make sure we, his children and family, were raised in a community and lifestyle we all wanted made me appreciate hard work and how far that determination can take you. Through their influence and example I learned how to carve out my own passion and drive for creating that place for me and my family in agriculture. It was naturally in me to work hard, don’t give up and find ways to make your dreams work. As a teen and early adult I had the privilege to work alongside both of these men on the farm and now my father. However, one of the greatest places to be is next to my grandfather listening to stories he may tell of hunting, farming and adventures he went on as a young man.
 

Rebecca Webert – Knowledge Center Communication and Event Specialist

Agriculture is so incredibly diverse, and that diversity is reflected in the people who live and work in it.   I consider myself fortunate to be raised in the agriculture industry – it has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.   When I think about the definition of a role model – a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated – I see living, breathing examples of that definition throughout my life and career in agriculture. 
My grandfather, whose formal education ended at 11th grade, was one of the wisest people I have even known when it came to farming and agriculture.  How to tend a sick calf, chicken, or pig, what crops needed, how to fix just about anything, and when to ask for help…it seemed like he knew it all.  My father, who took me out to help with the sheep and cattle when I was barely old enough to walk, and in doing so fostered my love of animals, and of agriculture, is still the first person I call when I have a question.  My husband, who did not grow up in agriculture, but found a passion for it and has made it his goal to continue to learn, so that he can be the best steward of the land that he can be and the best caretaker of the animals in his care, all so he can provide the best product to help feed this nation and the world.  Numerous people that I have met along the way – cattle breeders who forged a path without knowing they were doing so at the time, women who had a passion for agriculture and chose to make their living in it even though at the time it was a “man’s world”, professors who dedicated their life to teaching others about agriculture, and leading research that has help the industry to grow and move forward…all of these people have played an integral part in making agriculture what it is today.  And all of these people have helped to shape the person that I am today as I try to imitate the qualities that I see in each of them that makes them so incredibly special.  My role models in agriculture are many, but the qualities are all the same:  Integrity.  Passionate.  Compassionate.  Dedicated.  Innovative.  Humbleness.  Stewardship.  Selflessness.

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Monday, November 26, 2018
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