The future looks bright for those with passion for agriculture
Joryn Buchanan, first year Diploma in Agriculture student, was part of a Province of Manitoba/Manitoba 4-H contingent attending the Future Farmers of America Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, last fall, where 70,000 delegates spent four days learning about the opportunities in the agriculture industry. Joryn and his two fellow attendees spoke this week at Manitoba Ag Days about their experience. We caught up with Joryn to get the story:
What prompted you to choose to study Diploma in Ag at the U of M?
Growing up on a family farm (near Crystal City, MB) with grain and cattle and having an active role on the farm, I have developed a passion for agriculture. Then when I got older and was able to understand the agriculture field more, I started to investigate the career paths and routes possible with ag and found really… no end. Not knowing if I had wanted to return to the family farm, this diploma agriculture program is opening many other doors for me. Also my brother and sister recently who graduated from the diploma program sealed the deal with all their experiences, knowledge and positive feedback on the program.
Tell us about your trip to the Future Farmers of America Convention.
I was contacted by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development through 4-H Manitoba looking for some potential candidates to attend the Future Farmers of America (FAA) National Convention and Expo last fall. Potential candidates had to be planning on, or were continuing their post secondary studies in the agriculture field. In late September I was notified that the opportunity was a go and so, in early October, I had an interview with 4-H Manitoba. A few days later I received confirmation that I was selected to travel to Indianapolis, Indiana, USA for the convention with our chaperone and two other students Hanna Popp and Lauren McKee.
The FFA Convention and Expo is where over 40,000 FFA members and a total 70,000 people from across the USA come together to learn about agriculture. A variety of industry leaders and start up companies attend, such as Corteva, BASF, Dot Robotics, John Deere, NASA, Microsoft, New Holland, Case, and many others! During the convention there were two very large “RBC convention center” style rooms, as well as the Lucas Oil Stadium, along with many other smaller conference style rooms for round table group discussions, and sessions on specific topics in the ag industry. These sessions included “How to Advocate”, “Being A BO$$ in the Agriculture Industry” including many others that we didn’t have an opportunity to get to.
The atmosphere throughout our week at the convention was just flat out incredible, everyone was so passionate about agriculture, everyone could relate and have one-on-one discussions while waiting in line or sitting next to each other. It was very obvious that these students really looked forward to the convention and expo and that it was a major highlight through their junior high and high school years.
What were some of the highlights for you?
For me it was the opportunity to be able to listen to the NASA agriculture space research team administrator and learn how much of an impact NASA has had on the ag industry and what the future may hold! Another exciting highlight for me was to have table group discussions with select senior FFA members about current problems and how are they being addressed in the ag industry. I was awestruck by their public speaking, passion and confidence they had. Another highlight of mine was the FFA general session and opening ceremonies where we had the chance to listen to the national president of the FFA. He talked about being yourself throughout the week and when you put on your FFA blue corduroy jackets (all members wore these) its important to be yourself, a role model, a leader and advocate. Then when you hang it up, it’s just as important to do the same as we ARE the future leaders, farmers and ag industry,
We also had the opportunity to have a Q&A with the current and former deputy secretaries of education. We discussed our path in the ag industry. They had great words to share with us such as the importance of our own integrity. One quote that stuck with me was “Being successful should be your motivation, be sure to define it to yourself, then work harder at it than anything else you have in your life”.
We also talked about leadership, defining our own life principals or morals. The main thing they said about our careers was to find a path and to follow it. After speaking to these people, my career plans are not as specific and less defined. However, I know that I want to see myself in the agriculture field in the future.
The convention exposed me to so many new projects and agri-technology. From the food sector with vacuum tight packaging, to the safety sector with hard hats in Cargill, to the production sector with Microsoft artificial intelligence and Microsoft farm beats, the FFA Convention and Expo has shown me the new opportunities and places agriculture can go. Overall at the convention I really learned a lot and brought back a lot of knowledge to share with my fellow Manitobans. While having an incredible time!
What are your future plans after you graduate?
After I graduate from the diploma program, I plan to continue furthering my education in the degree program. Then I plan to pursue a career in agriculture while still being connected to the family farm.