Agriculture: Not Just for Farm Kids

My experience with agriculture has not been a typical one.  I thought that you had to grow up on a farm or ranch to be an “ag kid”, which is something I certainly had not done.  I didn’t even raise animals for 4H growing up!

I was roped into agriculture during my junior year of high school; I wanted drop my trigonometry class, and the only other class available was livestock production.  My knowledge of anything to do with livestock was minimal.  I went and spoke with the teacher, and he said he’d let me in his class on the condition that I joined FFA.  I figured that it couldn’t be too hard, and that I could just put minimal effort into it, so I agreed.  The next few months would lead me to find a passion in a field that I had completely written off based on my background.

My new teacher, the incredible Mr. McIntosh, placed me on his agronomy team.  He described agronomy as a “bear of a contest,” and he was not kidding.  My nights would consist of me studying crops, forages, seeds, weeds, insects, and soil for at least two hours, sometimes more!  Every week at practice, Mr. Mac would drill the team and keep score to see who was studying or not.  Practices became very heated (yet very friendly) competitions between the four of us; I loved every second of it.  That semester ended with us being the state champion team.

Next year, my senior year, I competed in the Farm and Agribusiness Management contest.  I liked the Agronomy contest a lot, but I loved this one.  Again, I studied and studied, competed with my teammates, and again we were state champions.  This time I was even the high scoring individual in the state.  However, something was different about this year; I didn’t want my career in agriculture to end with high school FFA.  When it came time to declare my major, I knew what I wanted.  I put down Agricultural Business.

Now, as a soon-to-be junior here at the University of Wyoming, I have made in effort to learn about and be involved with agriculture as much as I can.  I am an active member Alpha Gamma Rho (the agricultural fraternity on campus), Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers, and I work for the College of Agriculture Extension office.  This summer, I will be interning in Ithaca, New York for a software company that develops risk management and insurance tools for farmers and ranchers.  It is really incredible where this journey in agriculture has taken me, and I am excited to see where I end up!

-Wes Taylor

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