Different Pathways Can Lead to Ag Career

By Kilah Hemesath, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds Marketing Intern

Garrett Ley with two of his favorite flavored popcorn products.

Garrett Ley with two of his favorite flavored popcorn products.

We’re constantly presented with choices, but I didn’t understand the magnitude of my choices until I came to Iowa State University (ISU). There are numerous facets in the agricultural industry and it can be challenging to choose a college major. I chose Agricultural Business because this major offers ample opportunities to tailor it with electives. I really enjoyed choosing electives, but it was the experience I gained through multiple internships that led me down a career path in agricultural marketing.

Many of my peers also have chosen their career paths through involvement in on-campus organizations or internship experiences. Today I’m sharing personal experiences of five ISU students, who will be involved in agriculture but in very different ways.

Many people view popcorn as snack but Garrett Ley of Alleman, Iowa, is passionate about producing it. Upon graduating in May with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business, he plans to amplify his G-Pop’s popcorn business. G-Pop’s was founded in May, 2014 when he discovered his new passion of entrepreneurship and value-added products for the consumer. Garrett is active on all levels of agriculture, from field to food.

Kayla Degner

Kayla Degner, Marketing and Communication Assistant for New Cooperative Inc.

After May 31, you could find Adelai Swanson in Washington, D.C., working for Dow AgroSciences in Government Affairs and Sales. Adelai has always had a passion for agriculture policy. Her degrees in Agricultural Business and Public Relations will help make that dream become reality.

Coming from a farm in West Central Iowa, Kayla Degner knew she wanted to be involved in agriculture. Kayla graduated from Iowa State University in May 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in in Agricultural Communications and is working at NEW Cooperative Inc. as a Marketing and Communication Assistant. Kayla couldn’t imagine herself doing anything different.

Returning to his family’s farm upon graduating in May is what Brett Roquet describes as living his dream. He explains that he couldn’t see himself doing anything else. Brett and his younger brother raise show pigs. He also raises corn and soybeans with his dad and grandpa.

Jennifer Elliott, soon to be Sales and

Jennifer Elliott, soon to be a Sales and Business Trainee for Smithfield.

Because some of her best memories happened when she was growing up on her family’s farm in Monmouth, IL, Jennifer Elliott was active in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She will graduate in May 2016 with a degree in Agricultural Communications. She’s looking forward to when she’ll move to the East Coast and become a Sales and Business Trainee for Smithfield. Jennifer couldn’t be happier than to explore the different career paths offered through Smithfield through her trainee program.

These five stories showcase the various directions students can take in agriculture. From entering the food industry to becoming involved in government affairs, there’s a career suited for all interests!