Farmer and seed salesman
University of Missouri
Ag Systems Management B.S. 2013
Hometown: Monroe City
The word conjures images in our heads of men at work following teams of horses in the field, cabless tractor drivers wearing bib overalls, or old men sitting in old pickup trucks.
Today’s farmers are so much more than that romanticized version we picture.
The average farmer today wears many ‘hats’. He or she also has to be a welder, mechanic, veterinarian, computer tech specialist, accountant, electrician, contractor, agronomist, merchandiser, truck driver, and about 50 other professions, sometimes all before lunch.
The Mizzou Agriculture Systems Management program seamlessly blends these challenges into their degree program.
ASM at Mizzou prepared me and my peers for life after college. Some of us, including myself, chose to return to the farm, while others pursued alternative careers in the agricultural industry. That is the beauty of agriculture and this program-both are diverse.
Whether it was engaging with precision ag in Dr. Koç, a construction lab with Dr. Zulovich, diagramming hydraulic systems with Dr. Borgelt, or discussing electricity with Dr. Schumacher – you were sure to be benefitting from some piece of information or a skill you would need later professionally.
That is just the engineering side of things. Other requirements and electives could place you in animal science, business, plant science, economics, and other classes. It led me places I thought would be a waste (i.e.-ag sales class) that ended up still being beneficial to me. I remember thinking, “I had it figured out. I didn’t need this sales class. I knew what I was doing with my life. I was returning to the farm. I wasn’t ever going to need a single thing learned in this class.”
Three short years later I began wearing another ‘hat’- selling seed to supplement my farm income using skills developed in this class.
Not only did this program prepare you professionally, but the people in it inspired us. Leon Schumacher was one of those people. The guy seemingly never had a bad day. I’m sure he did, but he never showed it to his students. His unbridled sense of optimism was contagious and made going to class fun. Nothing was ever “broken” or “destroyed”- you just “let the smoke out of it.” We never had “tests” in his class. Doc preferred to refer to them as “learning opportunities.” Everything was an opportunity. I have always been pretty positive, but I still carry that with me. The challenges we all face, nearly every day while farming, are much more palatable if we view them as opportunities.
I attended a small college for two years before transferring to Mizzou. The advisor at my first college pleaded with me to stay, “Don’t go to a big school like Mizzou. You’ll only be a number there.” I had that sense of hesitation in my mind when I went, but it was quickly erased. I was welcomed and felt comfortable with all of the faculty and staff, but it started at the top with my advisor that everyone called, “Doc.”