Living It: On the Farm, At School and Beyond
05.11.18 Megan Striegel
Before I share my ag story, there’s a couple of facts about me you should know:
- I grew up in the middle of southeast Iowa on my family’s farm.
- Both of my parents are passionate about and employed in agriculture.
Facts one and two set my fate to fall in love with agriculture.
At just 5 years old, I picked out my first bottle lamb. I had the responsibilities of feeding, caring for and working with that lamb to prepare it for the Clover Kids Livestock Show. And, it’s safe to say I was hooked.
Next thing you know, bottle lambs turned into bottle calves. Then we got a chicken coop, and suddenly we had a proper livestock operation! My family managed a flock of 30 breeding ewes, a few cow/calf pairs and a farm fresh egg business.
I experienced joy and excitement while I shivered in the barn on a freezing December night looking at newly born twin lambs from a first-time mom. I felt a wave of pride when I witnessed the mom’s natural instincts take over, knowing the lambs would be well taken care of.
The love I associate with my family farm is one I experienced through living it.
I learned responsibility through dirty hands and long, work-filled weekends. People in the agriculture industry understand there are no sick days, no vacations and no time off. The minute we decide to take a backseat is the minute that the world goes to… well, it goes to the stuff we spread on fields after cleaning out barns.
From a young 4-Her to a confident high school FFA student, I combined my love of talking with educating. I competed in Career Development Events and advocated for agriculture at the county and state level.
The lessons I learned in my youth followed me to college at Iowa State, where I’m studying agricultural communications. The goal? Use my writing skills to reach consumers outside of the agricultural industry. My involvement in campus clubs, teams and summer work experiences which opened my eyes to aspects of the industry I had yet to be exposed to, has only strengthened my commitment to communicating with producers, consumers and everyone in between.
My ag roots have continued to grow deep, which led me to my internship here at Filament. When I first started my journey in agriculture, I knew companies treated their employees like family. At Filament, I see how the team treats our partners, the companies we work with, like family as well. There’s not a moment I don’t see my coworkers connected and invested in their clients and subsequently, the farmers they serve.
Not only do they partner with their agriculture clients, they partner with students through the internship experience. There’s no next generation of communicators if there’s no chance for people like me to learn. Not only will I learn from this opportunity, but others I work with and interact with at college will learn secondhand from my experiences.
When I first took off for my freshman year of college, I had no idea how much I’d miss the lazy rolling hills of our fields or the sounds of a morning on the farm. By the end of the first month, I knew that the dirt of the farm would forever be on my soul. And that’s something I don’t want to ever wash off.