Spring 2014

Note from the Academic Program Leader: Your Role as a Talent Acquisition Manager

by Dr. Brad Greiman, Academic Program Leader

GreimanI recently visited with a professional colleague after a scholarship selection committee meeting. He shared his business card with me and his job title was identified as Talent Acquisition Manager. The colleague is one of many his company depends upon to find talent among the pool of potential hires at universities and colleges in the United States.

Perhaps each of us in the agricultural education community should serve in the role of a talent acquisition manager. Why is this role critical? The job market for our agricultural education graduates at the UM is excellent. However, the supply of graduates is not able to meet the demand of employers. Increasing the number of students in the agricultural education major will take the collective effort of each of us as talent acquisition managers!

As a talent acquisition manager, I suggest you share the USDA publication Employment Opportunities for College Graduates in the U.S. Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resources System with prospective students. This report pertains to 2010-2015 and estimates the annual number of job openings requiring a bachelor’s degree with expertise in agriculture, food, and natural resources (AFNR). The USDA estimates over 54,000 college graduates will be needed each year to meet the growing job demand. However, only about 29,000 qualified students are expected to earn degrees annually from AFNR programs at colleges and universities in the United States.

Employment OpportunitiesMore positive news from the USDA report to share with prospective agricultural education students are the categories where employers will be hiring the over 54,000 college graduates each year (see the figure on the left). The categories of Management and Business (47%) and Education, Communication, and Government Services (11%) are an appropriate match for the skill set of agricultural education graduates. In summary, my analysis of the USDA report is that students majoring in agricultural education are positioning themselves to meet the high demand jobs desired by employers!

Another study I suggest talent acquisition managers utilize is Mary Robinson’s M.Ed. integrating paper Past Trends and Future Predictions of Secondary Agricultural Education Teachers in Minnesota. The findings from her 2011 study support the need for a larger supply of agricultural education teachers to meet the strong demand. Specifically, an average of 32 agricultural education teaching positions in Minnesota high schools have annually been available during a recent 11-year time period (see the following figure).

Ag Ed Teacher Hires

Many talent acquisition managers use personal communication to encourage a prospective student to consider a career in agricultural education. Let the student know about the strong demand for UM graduates in the agricultural education major. Others may call on Cassie Burton, our recruiter, to assist with the talent acquisition process. She always looks forward to hosting prospective students and their parents for a campus visit. I also encourage you to nominate a student for Ag Ed by going to our home page http://ag-ed.cfans.umn.edu/ and finding the nomination link in the upper right-hand corner of the website. Thank you for helping to meet the demand for UM agricultural education graduates!

ag-ed website screenshot

Congratulations to Our Graduates!

Congratulations and best wishes to our 2013-2014 graduating students in Agricultural Education from the Agricultural Education Division at the University of Minnesota. The CFANS Commencement Ceremony will be held Friday, May 16, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. in the Northrop Auditorium.

Graduates include Michaela Bengtson, Clinton Bergene, Erin Daninger, Meghan Duchene, Kayla Erickson (Crookston), Rebecca Erickson, Kelly Froehlich, Kelsey Gunderson, Jared Hanson, Brett Henslin, Stephanie Kasper, Steven Lammers, Emilie Lane, Doreen Lorentz, Raina Pederson, Kelsey Petit, Stephanie Porter, Elizabeth Rabbe, Kirby Schmidt, Megan Thurk and Tyler Warren.

We are also extremely proud of our graduate students who earned their degrees in Summer and Fall 2013: Felix Amenumey, Ph.D., Donald Metzger, M.Ed. and Katie Shaw, M.Ed.

Upcoming Events

April 15, 2014

Ag Awareness Day

The Ag Ed Club will be hosting the 5th Annual Ag Awareness Day on Church Street on the Minneapolis East Bank Campus, Tuesday, April 15 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The event will feature live farm animals, Minnesota agricultural industries, educational displays, and activities for children. Everyone is encouraged to attend, and families are welcome. For more information, visit facebook.com/AgAwareness or contact student co-chairs Cassie Olson or Lauren Servick.

April 27-29, 2014

Minnesota State FFA Convention

The University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus will welcome FFA members for the 85th annual Minnesota State FFA Convention. The Convention is poised to draw 3,000-plus FFA members, advisors and guests from across the state. For more information, visit mnffa.org.

May 4, 2014

University of Minnesota Agricultural Education Celebration of Students

This new event, emceed by Ag Ed majors Cassie Olson and Eric Seifert, will be held Sunday, May 4 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Cargill Building, St. Paul Campus. Ag Ed and MAELC scholarship winners, graduating seniors and graduate students, and Ag Ed Club members will be recognized at this event. Agricultural Education students, scholarship donors and faculty/staff are invited to attend. Appetizers, desserts and beverages will be served from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., and a one-hour program will follow. Please RSVP for this event at: https://cfans.wufoo.com/forms/ag-ed-celebration-of-students/

Friday, May 16, 2014

CFANS Commencement

CFANS Commencement will be held Friday, May 16 at the Northrop Auditorium, University of Minnesota, East Bank. For more information about Commencement, visit http://www.cfans.umn.edu/UndergraduateStudents/CurrentStudents/Graduation/Commencement/ or contact the CFANS Student Services Office at cfanssso@umn.edu.

Ag Ed Student Spotlight: Emilie Lane

Emilie Lane“I really enjoy taking people’s visions and making them happen,” Agricultural Education senior Emilie Lane said. Emilie will be graduating this spring with her Agricultural Education - Leadership & Communications major, Animal Science minor and Nutrition emphasis.

During her time at the University of Minnesota, Emilie served as the Ag Ed Executive for the Agricultural Education Club, the CFANS Student Board Director for the Ag Ed major, the Vice President and Secretary for the CFANS Student Board, the Communications Chair for Minnesota Royal, and the Chair of the Gopher Dairy Club Camp. Emilie is currently a member of the Beta Clovia Sorority, Collegiate Agri-Women, and the Ag Ed Club; she is also a Delta Theta Sigma little sister. “The thing I love most about being an Ag Ed major is that people really care about what activities and clubs I’ve been involved in,” said Emilie.

Emilie completed several worthwhile internships during her college career, including a 30 hour job shadow of Midwest Dairy, a 4-H internship for Pope County in 2012, and she was a Facilities Coordinator with the Minnesota 4-H State Fair last summer. During her time as a Facilities Coordinator, Emilie was responsible for the 4-H hiring and purchasing for the State Fair. Emilie currently works in the Center for Youth Development with the State Fair and animal science team.

When asked about how she became so involved, she responded: “My freshman year I came in as a biology major in CLA, and I just started joining clubs, Ag clubs, because that was what I liked to do. I came to the U and I joined Gopher Dairy Club right away, and my roommate Kelsey Petit (who is also an Ag Ed major) joined Ag Ed Club, so I joined Ag Ed Club and started rushing at Clovia Sorority because those girls had the same kind of interests as I did. And then it just kept growing.”

“I love logistics, I love planning events and orchestrating different activities. And so all these clubs surround agriculture, and all the roles I played in those clubs have been dominantly event-orientated,” Emilie explained. “I think out of all the experiences I’ve had at the U, planning Gopher Dairy Club Camp was the biggest undertaking.” Emilie planned this camp for two years. She had 75 kids come to camp both years, and this experience helped her prepare for her internship as a facilities coordinator where she was partially responsible for 7,000 kids that came to the State Fair for 4-H.

The Gopher Dairy Club Camp was also one of the main reasons why she decided to attend the University of Minnesota. She attended camp as an 8th grader, which was her first time on the St. Paul Campus. “I knew I liked kids and I knew I enjoyed summer camps, but with planning camps I got to see that I also really enjoy fundraising, and the logistic work of building a schedule and organizing speakers and just putting all of those little steps into making a big event,” she explained.

Her favorite class at the University was Jim Swiggum’s small engine class, as it helped her learn valuable life skills. There was an instance at work where a spinning wheel broke, and she was able to fix it herself. “I really enjoyed the challenge,” she said. “I think Swiggum’s class really empowered me to take all those steps and use my practical knowledge.” She also enjoyed Dr. Rebecca Swenson’s social media class, which was really helpful in helping her plan and assess a goal and “figuring out how to project that in social media.”

Dr. Swenson’s class was easily relatable to her internship last summer. Students spent a semester developing a social media plan by breaking it down with little tasks and building it over the semester. “Hiring 300 people and making purchases that will allow 7,000 kids to come to the State Fair is a huge task. Building a social media plan is a huge task, but in her [Dr. Swenson’s] class, I really learned how to break them down into smaller tasks. I used that same skillset, although not in the same context, when I did my internship. I broke it down into smaller individual tasks that came together in the end.”

Emilie’s dream job would be something task-based. She would like to work for the University of Minnesota Extension or at the University of Minnesota Morris in their Human Resources or Admissions departments. She also plans on repeating the internship she did last summer with Minnesota 4-H.

The advice Emilie wants to give incoming freshmen and current students is to “get involved and to not be afraid to step up and take those leadership roles.”

“I have so much knowledge and passion about agriculture that I want to share and the Leadership and Communications track has given me the skills I need to share that effectively,” she concluded.

Emilie’s favorites:
Color: Green
Music: Country
Animal: Dairy cow
Movie: Ever After
Book: Emma by Jane Austen
Food: Chinese
Hobbies: Going to meetings and being on committees, listening to audiobooks and playing Mario Kart on the Wii

Ag Ed Student Spotlight: Pat Tax

Pat TaxPat Tax is a current student in the Masters of Education: Initial Licensure program in Agricultural Education from the University of Minnesota. Currently, she is completing her teaching internship in her hometown of Pierz, Minnesota. “I am so excited to be here—the staff, the environment, the administration and the students is why I enjoy what I’m doing,” Pat said.

Before coming to the University of Minnesota, Pat studied at St. Cloud State University and graduated with an accounting degree. It wasn’t until a few years later she decided to get her teaching certificate so she could be an agricultural education teacher. “The accounting degree served me very well and I worked in private accounting for almost 10 years,” Pat explained.

Pat lives and works on a farm with her husband and three children. Being involved with the farm helped intensify her interest in teaching. “My family hosted a Breakfast on the Farm for Morrison County and we became active in our Farm Bureau. The more involved we became, the more we saw the misconceptions that existed about agriculture,” Pat explained. One day, Pat was asked to advise the Royalton FFA on account of the advisor retiring and not being replaced. She gladly accepted the position and was encouraged by the Royalton principal Joel Swenson to get her teaching certificate. “He [Joel Swenson] told me that he would support me if I chose to get licensed. I was so excited—I drove to St. Cloud State that day to inquire about getting my teaching certificate,” Pat said. She then found out that she had to go to the University of Minnesota to get her teaching certificate in Agricultural Education.

Using the NorthStar Transit, Pat commuted from St. Cloud to the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus to attend class. During the school year, Pat was asked to advise Pierz FFA while still advising Royalton. “I took two schools to State Convention last year. I was also enrolled in 20 credits. It was a busy time.” Pat was then asked to teach at Pierz “on a variance” where she taught one class during fall semester and a half day spring semester. Now, Pat teaches at Pierz in the morning, and meets with other teachers and her principal for feedback and consulting on her teaching.

Pat really enjoys teaching. “I want to make a difference in these young people’s lives; I want to show them opportunities that they did not know existed. I believe that agriculture has a place for everyone,” she explains. After completing her teaching internship this spring, Pat will earn her Master’s in Education.

Pat grew up on a dairy farm where she learned the value of hard work, and her family has had a great impact on her life. “I love to laugh and my kids make me laugh. As the wife of a dairy farmer, I learned to value the love and strength of a partner that I cherish to the ends of the earth,” Pat explained. At age 36, Pat was diagnosed with terminal cancer which was frightening for herself and her family. “The 52 weeks of weekly chemo and the radiation treatment were exhausting, but I truly never forgot how lucky I was and am today for those research-minded people who found that drug [Herceptin].”

Agricultural education is important to Pat because of the many resources and people that it contains. “I feel so fortunate to have found such a supportive network,” she explains. She’d like to encourage current and incoming students “to make their own adventure and find something new.” Pat said, “It’s ok to be outside of your comfort zone. Learning is fun, but it doesn’t have to be easy.”

Pat Tax is currently completing licensure requirements in Agricultural Education.

Pat’s favorites:
Color: FFA national blue and corn yellow
Music: Easton Corbin, A Little More Country Than That
Book: Whatever Pat’s interested in is what she likes to read
Animal: Dairy cows
Movie: It’s a Wonderful Life
Food: Barbecued ribs
Hobby: Scrapbooking

Ag Ed Alumni Spotlight: Frank Bezdicek

Frank BezdicekFrank Bezdicek grew up on a farm near Jackson, Minnesota. During his time in high school, he was very active in 4-H and FFA. His Vo-Ag instructors Delbert Schieger and John Murray played a big role in Frank’s decision to major in Agricultural Education. As a student at the University of Minnesota, Frank became quite involved in various groups such as the Ag Ed Club, the Block & Bridle Club, FarmHouse Fraternity and the student board. While attending school, Frank worked on campus in the meat shop and in the Agronomy Division, and spent his summer working for Green Giant. “The broad-based Agricultural Education that included entomology, to rhetoric to animal science, to mechanical agriculture to agronomy, soils and plant pathology, prepared me for the subsequent challenges and opportunities in my career,” explained Frank.

After graduation from the University of Minnesota with a B.S. degree in Agricultural Education, Frank joined the Minnesota National Guard in which he served seven years. While serving, Frank worked as a long-term substitute at John Marshall High School in Rochester for a year and then taught vocational agriculture in Stewartville for three years. In 1974, Frank started working for Land O’Lakes as a Sales Representative and retired from there 30 years later as the Manager in Marketing Communications for the Agricultural Services Division. “I started my career with Land O’Lakes as a Plant Food, Crop Protection Products and Seed Sales and Service Representative. In that role, I presented numerous producer and business manager educational meetings. The problem solving, agronomic and public speaking skills I gained in Ag Ed and teaching helped me effectively reach my goals,” Frank said. “I rely on transferable skills from my life in everything I do today.”

During that time, he continued his education and received a Master’s in Business Communication from the University of St. Thomas. After leaving Land O’Lakes, Frank formed his own business called The Other Right Answer LLC, a marketing and communications business which he currently runs. “There’s more than one right answer,” Frank explained. “Never stop searching for them.”

Frank is very active with the University of Minnesota CFANS program. He served as an Adult Advisor for the FarmHouse Fraternity and the President of the Minnesota FarmHouse Association. Currently he is working on a building fund campaign for the Minnesota FarmHouse, and is chair of the CFANS Norman Borlaug Science Achievement Award. He also works with Mary Buschette, the CFANS Alumni Relations Director, with various projects. He also received the U of M Alumni Advocate Award.

Frank’s favorite memories of campus are the student activities he participated in, and the small-campus feeling that St. Paul Campus emotes.

In the future, Frank would like to see the agriculture student numbers double. He plans to continue working on fraternity fundraising and other CFANS projects that arise. He also wants to strengthen public awareness of CFANS.

Frank Bezdicek received his B.S. in Agricultural Education in 1970 from the University of Minnesota, and his Master of Business Communication in 1992 from the University of St. Thomas.

Words Frank Lives By:

  • Anything you take for granted, eventually you will lose.
  • Always look for the other right answer.
  • Develop transferable skills from every job and life experience.
  • Continue to learn, never coast. If you are coasting, you can be going one direction: downhill.

This year, Frank set up a scholarship for Agricultural Education students at the University of Minnesota. A huge thank you to Frank for his generosity! Because of donors like Frank, Ag Ed students are able to focus more on their education, and less on financial strain. For more information on how you can contribute, please visit Giving to Ag Ed.

Science Fair Hits Record Numbers

Science Fair HS StudentsThe Roland Peterson Agricultural Education Science Fair held March 20, 2014 was a success! This year’s fair had a record number of 159 students from 15 schools with 121 projects.

The Roland Peterson Agricultural Education Science Fair is a competition for FFA members grades 7-12 who are interested in the science and technology of agriculture. It is held each year in March on the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus. At the science fair, students are able to compete as an individual or a team, and can choose to compete in one of the six categories. Students conduct a scientific research project pertaining to the agriculture and food science industries and present their findings to a judge or judges with a display and a report. The winners in each category and division are eligible to compete in the National FFA Organization Agriscience Fair held each fall at the National FFA Convention.

The science fair encourages middle and high school students to think critically about an agriculture topic and delve into the science aspect of it through research and technology. “I’m always interested in challenging middle and high school students to think about and become part of the science aspect of agriculture,” Dr. Roland Peterson explained. “I tell students, don’t just take an opinion. Study it and look at it and do quality research.”

“I enjoyed walking around and watching the vast array of ideas that these kids come up with to research on, and to see all the ideas that they share,” Dr. Peterson said. In the future, Dr. Peterson would like to see more schools compete. He wants to continue encouraging teachers to keep the science fair “on their agenda.”

The Agricultural Education Division would like to give a huge thank you to all of the supporters, sponsors, judges, faculty and students that made this event possible. We’d also like to thank the following University of Minnesota students for all of their help and hard work: Mikayla Baranczyk, Erin Daninger, Nathan Daninger, Rebecca Erickson, Doreen Lorentz, Jared Luhman, Stephen Melson, Andrew Plumski, Brandon Roiger, Rob Sexton and Meghan Thurk.

Science Fair UMN StudentsPictured here, UMN students volunteer
at Roland Peterson Agricultural Education Science
Fair. From left to right: Nathan Daninger,
Mikayla Baranczyk, Doreen Lorentz, and Brandon
Roiger. The photo at the top of the article features the
finished science fair project of two hard-working high
school students.

St. Paul Campus Hosts FFA Agricultural Communications CDE

Testing at Ag Comm CDEThe FFA Agricultural Communications Career Development Event (CDE) was held on the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus this year on March 20. Five teams which consisted of fifteen high school FFA students came to compete in this event. The competition required students to submit a media plan and present it to the judges. The contest also included an individual practicum in which students designed a flyer, wrote a feature story and created a blog post. Students also had to take an AP style and writing mechanics test.

Dr. Rebecca Swenson, who served as the Communications CDE chair, said the best part about chairing the CDE event is “meeting high school students and watching their interest in Agriculture Communications grow during event activities. It is fun to watch the next generation get excited about potential academic programs and career opportunities.”

The winning team from Hutchinson High School will be moving onto Nationals in the fall. The first place individual was Kelli Forsell from Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg High School. Congratulations to all for their participation and hard work!

The University of Minnesota Agricultural Education Division gives special thanks to University of Minnesota Agricultural Education students Sarah Marketon and Christine Reitsma, who were student chairs that assisted with the event.

UMN Students at Ag Comm CDEStudent chairs Christine
Reitsma (left) and Sarah Marketon
(right), hard at work at the Ag
Comm CDE. The photo at the top of
the article shows several high
school participants, deep in thought.

We also would like to thank the following judges for their help and support: Becky Beyers, Communications Director for CFANS; Pam Dahlman, Public Relations/Foundation Support Staff for the Minnesota Farm Bureau; Sarah Dornink, UMN Students at Ag Comm CDEExecutive Director of the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council (MAELC); Maggie Frazier, CFANS Extension Communications Editor; Honey Vanderventer, CFANS Constituent Relations Coordinator; Kari Schwab, MAELC Community Program Assistant; and Dr. Rebecca Swenson, Agricultural Education Assistant Professor and CDE Chair.

Fires Fueled at 2014 Minnesota State FFA Convention

FFA Convention LogoOnce again, the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus will be welcoming FFA members for the annual Minnesota State FFA Convention, to be held April 27-29, 2014. Students will arrive by the bus load and descend upon the campus, sporting their official blue corduroy jackets, anticipating competitions, learning from speakers and making new connections.

“Fuel Your Fire” is this year’s theme for the convention, and you can expect students to do just that after attending last October’s National FFA Convention where their fires were ignited.

Joel Larsen, Program Specialist in Agricultural, Food and Natural Resource Education at the Minnesota Department of Education expects 3,300 FFA members and 200 advisors to attend this year. “I always look forward to all of the chapters and members who come to convention to compete in the career development events, receive chapter and individual awards. There are so many partners who come to judge, support, assist in all the events of the convention” said Larsen.

Dennis Bjorklund, the Career Development Coordinator for the Minnesota FFA, is also excited for this year. “This is the first year I am in charge of coordinating the convention,” Bjorklund said. “I hope everything runs smoothly and all students and chapters get the recognition they deserve.”

Some highlights of this year’s convention include a reconfiguration of Mariucci Arena for better sound quality for attendees, as well as a tent outside of the Continuing Education Conference Center for MNSCU Colleges to inform students about agriculture programs. Keynote speaker, University of Minnesota Head Football Coach, Jerry Kill, will be at the final session April 29 at the Mariucci Arena.

More information about the Minnesota State FFA Convention can be found at mnffa.org.

Students Receive Scholarships from MAELC

Twenty-two students have been awarded a Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council (MAELC) scholarship for the 2014-2015 school year. This year, ten incoming freshmen received the Freshman Scholarship, seven of which are attending the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in the fall. Twelve undergraduate students (all of whom are University of Minnesota, Twin Cities students) received the Continuing Agricultural Education Scholarship.

MAELC provides three types of scholarships for students: the Freshman Scholarship for incoming Agricultural Education students attending the University of Minnesota or one of the 2+2 partnership institutions; the Continuing Agricultural Education Scholarship for current college students studying Agricultural Education-Teacher Licensure; and lastly, the Initial Teacher Licensure Scholarship for students who are working toward getting their Masters in Education and teaching license for Agricultural Education.

MAELC is an organization that works to promote and improve the Agricultural Education programs in the state of Minnesota. The Council consists of representatives from various agriculture organizations and businesses that are involved in Agricultural Education.

Sarah Dornink, Executive Director of MAELC, explains why the scholarships are important for students: "Investing in tomorrow's agricultural educators and communicators is a high priority for MAELC. Minnesota, like other states, has a shortage of people to educate the public about the agriculture, food and natural resource industry. We are happy to financially support these students in their academic pursuits."

Congratulations to all the MAELC scholarship recipients!

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Freshmen Scholarship Recipients
Mariah Daninger
Valerie Earley
Rachel Engel
Madison Giese
Andy Houdek
Kennedy Janssen
Jack Roessler
Brandon Thurk

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Continuing Agricultural Education Scholarship Recipients
Nathan Anderson
Lisa Busack
Ethan Dado
Michaela Gallup
Vinz Karl
Ethan Lapham
Sarah Lee
Paige Lemke
Brandon Roiger
Eric Seifert
Chelsea Vilchis
Hannah Wilts

Ag Ed Departmental Scholarships To Be Awarded Late April 2014

The Agricultural Education Division at the University of Minnesota also awards scholarships to deserving students studying Agricultural Education. Students in the Ag Ed major receive one of the highest levels of scholarship support among majors in CFANS and the University of Minnesota. This year, approximately $30,000 in scholarships are available exclusively to students majoring in agricultural education, and these scholarships are due to the generous donations from alumni, friends, professional associations, and organizations. Entering freshmen, transfer students, and current undergraduate students are eligible to receive these funds. Recipients of the Ag Ed scholarship will be announced at the end of April.

Ag Ed Student Serves as Editor of The Ag Ed Enthusiast

2013 Katelyn AsfeldAg Ed student assistant and UMN Sophomore Katelyn Asfeld wrote and edited this semester’s e-newsletter. This is the second e-newsletter she coordinated, and the Ag Ed faculty and staff would like to offer our sincere thanks for her hard work writing articles!

Her family farm and FFA shaped her passion for agriculture and her choice to become an Agricultural Education major with a Mass Communications minor. “I knew I wanted to attend the U of M Twin Cities after I attended conferences and contests at the University. It excites me that I can mesh my love of agriculture and success in writing into a career for life.”

Stay Connected

Agricultural Education is now online. Stay connected to the latest news and updates by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Please also visit us at the UMN Agricultural Education Blog!

Submit a Story

We would love to hear from you! Please share your news about any accomplishments or activities within your school or company related to agricultural education, career updates, family news, special recognition, etc. to be included in our newsletter. Please submit your story to Sara Jensen at sjensen@umn.edu.