Friends of Farmers: Giving back, one farmer at a time.

Have you ever felt like your purpose in life was gone? After quitting my job of 4 years at a nursing home in my home town, I felt as if my purpose was gone. My job there was as an activity aid and it was my pride and joy working with residents. I would call bingo, I would paint the ladies nails, I would make the new residents feel at home, but my favorite part was visiting with them and getting to know them and making their day. After I lost that when I quit, I had to find a new way to fill that void. I did that by starting a group called Friends of Farmers.

Agriculture is part of me and I wanted to show my local farmers how much we thank them for all the hard work they do. The long days and night they put in so we can have food on the table. This idea came up at 2 a.m. with my roommate when we were talking about how much I struggled with that sense of loss. I guess you can say some of the best ideas come at weird times, because this one did. It all started out as talk, then I put those ideas and thought into action.

The main thing I wanted to do was to go around to the local farmers and pass out treats in the afternoon. I know when the afternoon hits they all need a little pick-me-up to keep the day flowing. So with that goal in mind, that is what I did. I made three batches of cookies, I put together a mix with M&M, peanuts and candy corn, water, and apples that were donated by Tanner’s Orchard in Speer, Illinois. I made tags to go on the bags of treats with the Friends of Farmers logo and a quote from Thomas Jefferson, that says “Agriculture is our wisest pursuit because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.” I chose this quote because it has a lot of meaning behind what farmers do everyday. Growing up on a farm I can say that I have gained a lot of happiness and good morals. Agriculture is the future and we need to invest in the future. I wanted to put my logo on something so that the farmers would know that I was starting this organization and that I wanted to keep it going. That I was invested in showing them my appreciation, so I made stickers for the little notes that I hand wrote, for a personal touch, and attached them to the baggies with treats in them.

The second thing I thought about was, how in the world am I going to pay for all of this? I am a broke college girl, with no money, but I really want to do this! My mom did do a lot of donating with supplies for the mix and cookies, but how was I going to pay for the water and something to put the mix and cookies in? That when I thought I should make t-shirts and try and sell them. So that is what I did, I made t-shirts with my logo on it and the Thomas Jefferson saying on the back. I Posted it on Facebook and asked family members if they wanted to buy a shirt to help support me in my cause. I sold a total of 32 shirts within a couple weeks. With the all the shirts I sold and the profit I made off of them I had enough money to buy all the supplies with extra money for next year. That money is in a tin can for next year.

My next thought was that I wanted to do was inform the younger generation on what farmers do and what agriculture is. Yes, I have grown up in a rural community, but not everyone knows where their food comes, and how it gets to their table. So the next thing I needed to think about was who can I get to help hand out these treats. I babysit a couple of young kids and my family from Minnesota was down and there are two young boys there. So I thought I would take four kids with me the first time and see where it got me. I then thought of a plan on how I was going to educate them on agriculture. So, after every stop we talked about something new. One question I asked was do you guys know where your milk comes from? I didn’t want all the questions to be all about grain operations, because not all of our food comes from corn and soybeans.

I had some positive and negative feedback. I will start with the bad, we stopped at one farmers field where they were sitting taking a break for the day. I thought this will be perfect, well it ended in some rude comments from the farmer, and some kids scared. How do you tell kids that not all farmers are that way. It was tough, but you tell them the next one will be much better. Now to the good, all but that one farmer all were surprised and thanked me and the kids right back. I think the best one was when I had a former teacher tell me that, one of the farmers was at a church function with her telling everyone how he loved how I did it and that it was so nice and that water was just what he needed. The next was when a former classmate messaged me later after we stopped at the field where he was and said thank you so much for the treats, they were great and it made my day. All the feedback I got made me want to keep doing this every year. The kids’ reactions to this day also keeps me wanting to do this. They all told me they had a lot of fun and thanked me for taking them along. I think their favorite part was when we were at a farm and they were handing out the snacks and the farmer was unloading and we handed him snack for all of the people that were out in the field with him. He let them get in the straight truck and honk the horn, they were all grinning from ear to ear. It was a fun experience for both them, me and the famer.

My next year’s goals are to get more kids to get involved and learn about agriculture. I was at another community service event that my community puts on during Christmas and I talked to the local Girl Scout’s leader. I told her what I was doing and how I wanted to get kids involved. I asked if they could get a badge for doing this and she said “of course they can get a badge for anything.” She gave me her contact information so I can get ahold of her when the time comes. I am really excited for next year to get kids involved, even more excited about getting young girls involved as women in ag are becoming more and more prominent.

The next thing I want to do is go into the Farm Bureau and the local extension office to get more teaching ideas for kids.  Being in FFA and doing Ag in the Classroom, I know they have techniques to use for younger kids. I want to take some of that information with me to some of the Girl Scout meeting to teach them about agriculture. Getting ideas from them will help me better to teach them about agriculture in a simple manner that they will understand because they are of all ages in Girl Scouts.

I have some big plans for next year and I can’t wait to see them through. I am finding some new ideas besides selling t-shirts for a fundraiser, to raise money for next year. My last and final thought to put in here is if you have any questions or want to start something like this in your home town, do not hesitate to get ahold of me. My email is: abrianneholler97@gmail.com. Even if you have more ideas for me please share, I am always open to new ideas of doing things and bettering my organization!

If you are wanting to start your own organization in your home town here are some things to think about: reach out to your community for help, there is always someone to help you. Think of ways to raise money for supplies. Map out your stops before you go, this will make the trip go smoother. I wouldn’t take more than four kids with you at a time as they can be a handful at times.

Contact info:

Name: Abrianne Holler

Email: abrianneholler97@gmail.com

School email: an-holler@wiu.edu

 

IMG_0532Hi, I am Abrianne Holler. I am a junior at Western Illinois University. I am studying agriculture science with minor in Agronomy. I’m from Henry, Illinois and have had the opportunity to grow up on a small family farm. That is where I get most of my interest in agronomy. I look forward to a career in the agronomy field with hopes of having my own farm someday, as well as helping and bringing new ideas to the family farm.  I thank you for taking the time to read through my blog, and I hope it provided some sort of value to you!

 

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Women in Agriculture

 

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When you think of agriculture, what are some of your first thoughts? Mine are livestock, passion, farming, hard work, long hours, and male farmers. Most do not think about women within this industry. We, women, are rapidly changing this thought process for many people.

Women are becoming more visible within the agriculture community. Today, 31% of farmers are women. This number has increased from the 14% that was recorded in 2012. Female farmers are leery of assuming the title as a farmer. They feel as if it is a man’s role to hold and many do not feel deserving of the title.

I am frequently asked why I chose this field to study. It always gives me a sense of pride to answer this question. I feel as if the agriculture industry has some of the best people in the world working within it. These are the people that care enough about others to provide their next meal while working long hours for little pay. There are many qualities that this industry holds that I myself value, hard work, dedication, accountability, and wisdom are a few.

Through my educational career, I have had the opportunity to meet many inspirational women within agriculture. In high school, I took many ag classes taught by Jennifer Waters. It was then that she sparked my interest in agriculture. With her passion and drive, she has become a role model for many people including myself. After transferring to Western, I decided to rush for Sigma Alpha. This is the professional agriculturalIMG_0455
sorority here at WIU. Becoming a sister within this sorority has allowed me to network and gain knowledge from young women with the same interests as me. I am fortunate to have built these relationships with great girls that I will have forever.

Now more than ever, there are many opportunities for women to become involved in agriculture. The Women Changing the Face of Agriculture is a large conference held every year to show young girls this. Many ag businesses come as well as guest speakers for the girls to interact with. I have attended this conference multiple times and each time has been a valuable experience. Being able to learn from and listen to women that have been in agriculture for many years is profitable for ladies who want to become involved. These women are inspiring young ladies, like myself to get out in the fields without fear of judgment.

With many ways to be connected within agriculture today, women are contributing to the success of the industry, more than we thought was possible.

About the Author:

Hello, my name is April Leinberger and I am a Junior at Western Illinois University. I am currently studying Agriculture Science. I am involved in Sigma Alpha Professional 300-4850-072.jpgAgricultural Sorority, Collegiate Farm Bureau, and Ag Vocators. Though I did not grow up with a farm background, I am submerging myself into this industry. Choosing to attend
WIU was one of the best decisions that I have made within my educational career. I have made lifelong friends and gained invaluable education from this University. Next May, I will be graduating and taking the knowledge I have learned throughout my time here and applying it to the workforce.

To learn more about how to get involved visit these sites: womenchangingthefaceofagriculture.com & sigmaalpha.org

(I own all photos above)

5 Things Growing Up On A Farm Taught Me

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From the time I could walk, all I can remember is running around barefoot outside and doing chores. While my father, grandfather, and uncle ran the actual farm, my mother and I were running a farm of our own. Chickens, ducks, guinneas, turkeys, rabbits, goats, pigs, and the occasional bottle calf were just a few of the animals we fostered and raised. It was instilled in me at a very young age that feeding the world is the most fulfilling job out there. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t just a job, it was a way of life. There is just something about being up early on a dewy morning to check my animals that gave me a sense of peace. It brings such a sense of pride to see the fruits of your labor grow and be successful.

IMG_0337 (2)Growing up on a farm made me a stronger person and taught me lessons that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. These are the most important lessons I’ve learned growing up on a farm:

Humility

First and foremost, you learn to be humble. You won’t always be successful, and that’s okay. You learn to appreciate what you have, and appreciate your successes a whole lot more.

Hard Work

There are no days off in farming. With my livestock, I was up all night waiting patiently on a new litter of pigs or filling the water tank for the 3rd time on a hot day. Whether you want to or not, the job has to get done.

Dealing with Loss

I was a soft-hearted child, so this did not come easy for me. It was hard to accept the fact that not every animal is going to make it. You learn to cope with these sort of IMG_1518 3situations, however, it’s a part of life.

Motivation 

When you are a farmer, you are your own boss. No one is going to bark orders at you or remind you to complete your tasks for the day. You have to have the drive to carry 20 50lb bags of feed from the truck to every feeder or make sure that planter gets the seeds in the ground before tomorrows rain.

Patience

Even though it might be the 4th time that week that the cows got out, you learn to be less frustrated and more calm in these situations. You might have heard the saying “herding cats”; well herding chickens is not easier. Chickens are faster than they look, let me tell you, but they still have to be back in the coop before sundown. You learn patience with these uncooperative little things work better than curse words.

Farming is not always picturesque; farms go under, crops fail, livestock perish. Farmers work their tails off to make sure that the next generation have a successful business to take over. Looking back, I am very thankful to have experienced life on the farm because it gave me an immense respect for how hard farmers work despite setbacks. Setbacks in life are inevitable, but we have to push through these tough times and continue to look towards a brighter future.

 

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Hi, my name is Kate Elliott and I am from Palmyra, IL. I am a junior at Western Illinois University studying Agriculture Science with a minor in Agronomy. I am a member of the Sigma Alpha professional sorority and a proud farmer.

 

 

 

 

(I own all photos pictured above.)

Barn to Barn: More than a fundraiser.

Last month on Feburary 24th, my family hosted a hole for the 9th annual Barn to Barn Classic. This was the third year that we had the opportunity to do so as the locations change each year.

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Logo courtesy of Barn to Barn

During the tournament teams of four go around to different farms and businesses in Virden, Girard, and the surrounding communities and play putt putt golf. At the end of the night a dinner is served, and an auction is held as well. All of the proceeds from the day’s events are used by the Barn to Barn Organization to support the North Mac Ag program and FFA chapter. Not only did Barn to Barn get the Ag program started, but they have bought classroom materials, helped fund part of the greenhouse, provided scholarships for seniors, and provided funding for National Convention trips, just to name a few of the ways that they support the North Mac Ag program and FFA chapter.

 

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Our Hole
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Hole Sponsors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Monarch Landscaping and Gardening’s Hole

While we were going through and looking at the other holes the night before, and as people were coming through our own barn during the event, I got to thinking about how different my life would be had the Barn to Barn Organization never been formed.

Growing up I was quite aware of the fact that my high school did not offer Ag and FFA. You see, for me the opportunity to take Ag classes and be involved in FFA wasn’t as much about the fact that I grew up on a farm, as it was about being part of something bigger. I grew up hearing my Dad talk about his Ag classes and FFA adventures, and I wanted so badly to have the same opportunity. But what I wanted the most was to be part of a legacy. I wanted to be able to say that I took Ag classes and was in my local FFA chapter like my Dad and Grandpa Dale were. The fact that this legacy was not available to me was quite honestly devastating. But then in 2010 when our schools consolidated and became North Mac, (short for North Macoupin County) I was finally granted access to that legacy.

My dream became a reality because a group of community members saw the need for an Ag program. In 2009 they began by raising funds to support the new Ag program and FFA chapter. After the program was started they decided to keep fundraising, and the Barn to Barn Organization was formed. Every year since 2009, Barn to Barn holds the Barn to Barn Classic.

Because of Barn to Barn, I was able to take Ag classes and be a four year FFA member. And I can truly say that I am the person that I am today because of this. While in my freshman Intro to Ag class, I realized that I wanted to pursue Agriculture Education in college. I also expanded my knowledge of Ag because of the classes that I was able to take in high school. Through my Ag classes and FFA, I grew from a shy freshman who hated to talk, to someone who can stand in front a crowd and speak. I developed leadership skills, which grew as I became a chapter officer, and carried through to my time at Lincoln Land Community College as well as here at WIU. If it hadn’t been for Barn to Barn, I would have never had the opportunity to walk across the stage at State Convention to

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Kinley Whalen and I at State Convention. Photo courtesy of Monica Foster Whalen

represent my chapter for our POA, and I never would have been able to experience National Convention and grow as an FFA member because of it. 

After Barn to Barn I had the opportunity to talk to some of the senior FFA members and gain their perspective as well. These girls were the little freshmen members when I was a senior, and I had watched them all grow as members and individuals over the past four years. It was obvious when sitting down with the five girls that they each felt that they had gained something important because of having the opportunity to take Ag classes and be an FFA Member. Chapter president Isabel Barnes said that being involved in FFA “…really opened (her) up to public speaking and communication.”  The girls also talked about how just having Ag classes available to them was extremely beneficial. Another common topic the girls brought up was how they grew as leaders and how they were able to grow as individuals because of the experiences that they had through FFA functions.

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Photo courtesy of Isabel Barnes

When asked what they would say to the Barn to Barn Organization, as these were the people that made it possible for us to even have Ag classes and an FFA chapter, their response was unanimous. Jennifer, Laura, Emily, Jessie, and Isabel all agreed that simply saying thank you could never be enough.

 

“I don’t know what else there would be to say to be able to thank them enough.”

– Jessie Haworth Chapter Sentinel

Words can not express how grateful I am that this group of community members came together and decided that an Ag program was needed for our new school district. But it’s not just them who deserve thanks. It’s our community that has supported the Ag program and FFA chapter through the years, and the individuals who participate in the Barn to Barn Classic in an effort to raise the funds to support the Ag program and FFA chapter.

I can now proudly say that I am part of a great legacy. Not just the legacy of Ag and FFA, but the legacy of Millburgs that were involved in FFA. I am forever grateful for everything that I gained as an Ag student and FFA member, and I am humbled knowing that I now share this experience with my Dad and Grandpa. No one will ever know how much it means to my sister Laura and I, that we can now proudly hang our FFA jackets next to our Dad and late Grandpa Dale’s. ‘Thank you’ will never be enough for that. IMG-0294

“From the bottom of my heart thank you, because I would not have grown to be the person I am today without FFA.”

– Laura Millburg Chapter Treasurer

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Hello! I am Emily Millburg, a junior Agriculture Education major. I grew up on a grain farm in Virden IL, where we raise corn and soybeans. In high school I was an active member of the FFA, which with my Ag classes, led me to pursue Ag Ed. After high school, I attended Lincoln Land Community College where I obtained by Associates of Science Degree. I am now currently attending WIU to finish my Bachelors. At WIU I am active in CFFA, PAS, and Ag Ed club. When I am not at school I enjoy reading and going to tractor pulls.

 

What showing livestock and farming has taught me by: Erica Harrell

Hello! My name is Erica Harrell and I am from Roseville Illinois. I am currently a junior at Western Illinois University with a major in Ag Business and minor in Animal Science. I have always had a passion for agriculture and would like to talk about some of the things I have been inspired by in the agriculture industry.

Ever since I was a little girl my favorite thing was to be outside on the farm with my family. I was never that into sports when I was younger because all I wanted to do when I was not in school was be outside on the farm. Agriculture has always been my favorite. To be honest, I don’t know where I would be today if I wasn’t involved in agriculture because it has taught me so many different things.

One of the biggest things that showing livestock and farming has taught me is that you can do anything that you put your mind to. If you would have told me when I was younger that I would be competing at national cattle and pig shows and doing very well I wouldn’t have believed you at all. I was that girl that would love to be around the commercial cattle and pigs, but I didn’t want anything to do with the showing part because I didn’t want to be like anyone else in my family and wanted to just do the farming part. At age 9 my mom got my first Angus show heifer named Sophie and I absolutely loved it. From that age until now I have showed a couple each year and the older I got the more competitive I got. When I look back to when I was younger until now I  have learned that anyone can do anything that want to as long as they work at it. You can do things other people do to and still not be like the other person. People can have the same hobbies and attack it at different ways.

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When  I look back to what showing and farming has taught me a big factor of what my mom has always told me is “You get out what you put in”. When she told me that I really thought long and hard how true that is in anything you do in this world. The summer of 2016 is when she told me that. It was my first year going to the World Pork Expo and I was really nervous, but knew that I had put countless hours in the barn and walking the pigs. My York barrow and I had made it to grand drive and I was in shock. It was my first year there and so I wasn’t planning to do that well. We get in grand drive and the judge says on the microphone almost exactly what mom was saying to me “Yes stock shows are about having fun, but in all reality they teach kids what hard work is”. After that moment when they had us stop in the middle of ring to give our hogs a break I thought about how showing really does teach us all work ethic. You can’t be successful if you don’t work at it.  After that my York was selected grand champion overall purebred and I was in shock. When I look back today what my mom said and the judge said on the microphone is 100% related to life. We don’t get things given to us and I am fortunate to have been taught that you have to work hard to be successful.

 

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Two of the biggest things that I’ve learned in farming and showing is independence and teamwork. For example at my age I am now driving an auger cart and also drive the truck and trailer to shows when no one can go with me. I’ve gotten taught as a woman sometimes you have to step up and do some of things on a farm you never though you would do. I’m glad my family has taught me how to do things like driving an auger cart and truck and trailer because I can do things on the farm when there needed to be done. It’s taught me patience and that sometimes you need to slow down and take your time.

To be honest I could talk for days on what living on a farm and showing livestock has taught me, but the skills that I learn and still am learning make me who I am today. I’m so fortunate to be able to have grown up in an agriculture family.IMG_6073

Growing up with agriculture has really made an impact on my life. I am fortunate to have learned what I have and excited to see what the future holds for me.

Don’t Wait, Study Abroad!

When you think of earning credits towards your degree, do you think of beaches, tourist attractions, and different countries? I never did, but I do now! I had the awesome opportunity to study abroad with my peers from the WIU School of Agriculture to Costa Rica for 10 days. We were able to learn about the different types of agriculture commodities they have in Costa Rica, along with great learning experiences at EARTH University and stay in the dorms where the local students live. It was incredible to see how hard these students work and how hands-on all their work is compared to ours.

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Not only is the Study Abroad program at WIU a fun spring break getaway, but you have an opportunity of a lifetime that you will never be able to get once your out of college. Even if $3,000 sounds like a lot of money, you can’t even begin to imagine how beneficial this is for the rest of your agriculture career. I think it is very important to learn about agriculture in different countries, and this is by far the best way to do just that. During my experience I was able to tour a sugar cane mill, a NASA space shuttle lab, a homestead farm, the University farm, coffee plantation, and so much more. Everything we did was a little different than the last and was so interesting to learn about since we never get to see most of these products in Illinois.

Another part that made it an incredible trip was the bond that our group built throughout the trip. At first we were a little quiet, but by the end we were always joking around and having a great time together. Our tour guides were fun too, so we spent a lot of time with them. Even after we got back from the trip I still talk to most of the people I traveled with on a regular basis, and I even have the opportunity to live with one of my travel partners, Paige!

Paige Skinner is a sophomore studying agriculture science/pre-vet at WIU and was able to go on the study abroad trip to Costa Rica too. Paige and I have known each other since grade school, so being able to share this experience with her was special to me.

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“I really enjoyed my time in Costa Rica learning about how they deal with their livestock. I didn’t expect it to be that different, but now I have that experience to share with people when I got back. It was also really fun to build a relationship with the whole group and hanging out every night after our long day, which we usually included Victor (the travel guide) in on it too!’

My last word of advice for you is to spend the extra cash and study abroad with WIU School of Ag. I promise you will not regret it, and this is something you can cherish and share with others for the rest of your life. Dr. Bacon is the man to talk to at Western Illinois University and he was a great leader for my trip. I hope you can take advantage of the study abroad program and enjoy yourself as much as my group did! Pura Vida!

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Hey guys! My name is Katelyn Muhlenburg and I am a senior studying agriculture business with a minor in finance at Western Illinois University. Throughout my time at WIU I have gained many great relationships with faculty and students, as long as taking on some leadership positions in the School of Ag. I am the President of the Agribusiness Club, a member of the AgVocator team, and I recently joined the agriculture sorority Sigma Alpha. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, bowhunting whitetails, kayaking, and camping. I recently accepted a grain merchandising position with Archer Daniels Midland which will begin in June. Go Leathernecks!

 

All Colleges Should be More Like EARTH University

EARTH University is a well established agricultural college that has two campus’ in Costa Rica, one located in Guacimo, which is close to San Jose, and one in La Flor. EARTH was established by Costa Rican law in 1986 as a private, non-profit, international university and created with the support of the Costa Rican government. EARTH’s innovative educational approach has been preparing young people from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and other regions to contribute to the sustainable development of their home communities, all the while constructing a prosperous and just global society. They offer high quality scientific and technological education with an emphasis in ethical entrepreneurship and environmental commitment. Also EARTH has a prestigious international staff with highly qualified professors.

Some statistics about EARTH:

  • Approximately 431 students, from 41 countries
  • 46% are women
  • Approximately 83% are from rural communities
  • 60% of students receive full scholarships with the remaining receiving significant financial aid and/or educational subsidy, empowering promising young leaders from economically underprivileged communities.

 

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Group picture with Victor our tour guide, and Ronald our driver.

This past spring, I went on a study abroad trip with Western Illinois University to Costa Rica. On this trip we were exposed to Costa Rica’s culture, history, and their agricultural industry. A large portion of our time there was spent at EARTH University. We stayed on campus for most of our nights in the country, ate many meals there, and were able to learn about Costa Rica’s agriculture and the university itself. Also we were able to mingle with the students in both social and educational aspects.

A requirement of the University is that every student and teacher must be able to speak at least Spanish and English, which results in many of the students knowing several languages. If a student doesn’t know Spanish or English there is a program they must take at EARTH were they can learn before they start their studies. While there, one of the most popular questions I was asked was, “How many languages do you speak?” It was extremely eye opening for me to realize just how common it was for people outside of the United State to know multiple languages. One young man I talked to from Africa knew five languages and 15 dialects of a certain language!

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Learning about hydroponics from a 3rd year student from Africa.

The students have school 6 says a week, whether that be spent in the classroom or with work experience where they will work for a certain sector of the school farm. The students at EARTH learn about animal, plant, and soil sciences as well as agribusiness. Some of the first things that students will learn when they get to EARTH, besides the required languages, is how to operate a tractor and ride a horse.

Courses at this university are more focused on lab and hands on activities than just in the classroom. For the student’s second year they must design an entrepreneurship related to agriculture, where the school will loan them the money to get it started. The students have one year to develop and perform their business, and must earn at least enough money to pay back their loan. If they earn more than what their loan was for, they get to pocket the money. If they cannot pay back their loan and their entrepreneurship was unsuccessful, they can no longer continue their studies at EARTH.Students’ first and third year at EARTH are based on classroom learning of technical and scientific knowledge, personal development, attitudes, values, and social and environmental awareness/commitment. For their second year they form a realistic mock business and their fourth year is for their international internship, which most take place in the United States. The internships must be related to agriculture and take place outside of their home country but have no other real restrictive guidelines.

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Different stages of the composting process at the university.

EARTH prides itself by being 80% sustainable. A large majority of the food from the cafeteria: dairy, meat, vegetables, and other proteins comes from the school farm. For example, the food waste from the cafeteria is used to feed the pigs or go into compost. The animals at the school provide meat, dairy, and protein for the students, faculty, and visitors at the University. The waste from the animals will go into compost and the compost will be used to fertilize the crops grown at the farm. Also some of the animal waste will go into bio-converters to produce some of the power used by the campus. The crops at the farm are used in the cafeteria and to feed the livestock. All remaining crops are contracted out and the profit goes back to the school to use towards maintenance, scholarships, etc.

EARTH’s entire goal is to educate their students about agriculture, ethics, professionalism, and sustainability, so that they can go back to their counties/communities and share this knowledge and these practices there. The University has high standards and expectations for their students, but is sure to provide them with the proper education and skill set to succeed. All colleges should have some, if not all, of the attributes that EARTH has. Emphasizing sustainability, a hard work ethic, high standards that are achievable, and the desire to take what you have and improve it for not only yourself, but for your community and environment.

About the Author:

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Hello all! My name is Maggie Eberley, and I am currently a senior at Western Illinois University majoring in Agriculture with an emphasis in Business and a minor in Agronomy. I grew up in central Illinois on a small row crop and livestock farm. My passion for agriculture started from being raised on a farm, and continued to grow my passion by being apart of the 4-H and FFA organizations, as well as taking courses throughout high school and college. After graduation I hope to attain a career in the finance/lending side of the agriculture industry as well as start a family of my own.