Journey of exploration in Iowa agriculture

In her role as a communications intern with the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers, Emma Wilson met and networked with agricultural educators from across the state at the Iowa Ag Ed Conference. 

By Emma Wilson

Year in School: Senior

Major: Agricultural and Life Sciences Education (agricultural communications emphasis), Journalism and Mass Communication

Internship: Communications Intern, Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers

My first year at Iowa State I majored in Agricultural Exploration, a major allowing students to explore the options in agriculture with endless opportunities to find their places in the industry. The past few months with the Coalition has been quite similar. With a jam-packed schedule for the month of June, I’ve found myself in various places throughout the state of Iowa. From the Mississippi River to southwest Iowa, the gently rolling hills of corn are flourishing and so is my internship.

Not only have I been exploring Iowa’s stunning scenery, but also the successes, needs and future goals of farmers throughout the state as well. In our everchanging agricultural industry, farmers are able to stay up to date with the help of the Coalition. Exploring and connecting with fellow industry organizations has enabled me to create a network of individuals whom I can work with to serve as a voice for these farmers.

With my location in central Iowa for the summer, it only takes me a short few hours to travel to any of the state’s four corners. While all four areas have their own personal character, so does each farm in the state. I’ve found myself on beef farms, hog farms and dairy farms, as well as workshops, meetings and conferences all offering something new to think about and explore.

Awarding a Good Farm Neighbor Award in Cherokee County set the exciting tone for the month of June. Seeing families come together for one of the most prestigious awards a livestock farm family can receive has to be one of the most touching parts of this internship. Exploring how these farmers are succeeding allows the Coalition to share their story to farmers who strive to succeed as well.

Later in the month, a two-day journey to Northeast Iowa to visit with two farmers who have worked with the Coalition, led me to a pit stop at the Field of Dreams. However, I most enjoyed the beautiful view of the two area farms as well as meeting the farmers and hearing about their achievements since working with the Coalition.

The Field of Dreams was one of the many iconic scenes Emma Wilson (right) encountered this summer when traveling the state of Iowa for the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers.
The Field of Dreams was one of the many iconic scenes Emma Wilson (right) encountered this summer when traveling the state of Iowa for the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers.

The month was also full of exciting events with a day spent conversing with farmers at the World Pork Expo, the annual Dairy Iowa Meeting, the northeast Iowa BEEFMEETS as well as my first Calving Barn Open House. Each has given me the opportunity to learn about the organizations the Coalition works with and the farmers attending these events. I’ve had conversations with an 8-year-old on his dream of raising cows and an 89-year-old reminiscing on the years he farmed with horses. I’ve learned so much from exploring what those around me have to offer and how I can work to be a voice for these farm families.

Although I’ve found my place in my major at Iowa State, I haven’t stopped exploring agriculture in Iowa especially with my time with the Coalition. After seeing many areas of the state as well as meeting inspiring farmers, I’m excited to see the rest of my journey unfold!

Vote for this entry in Round 2 of the 2017 Greenlee School Summer Intern Blogging Contest.

Voting begins at noon on Aug. 10 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 17. The winner will be announced Aug. 18 by noon.