i'm an agronomist

Allie Ferguson

1. Where are you from?
New Sharon, Iowa

2. What first started your interest in agronomy?
My family farms in Southeast Iowa where we grow corn, soybeans, and have a cow/calf operation. We also run a Pioneer Seed dealership. As a result of my family’s lifestyle while growing up, I constantly found myself surrounded by agriculture. I developed a love for the land at a young age while tagging along with my dad and grandpa as they farmed. The farm was always like a giant classroom for me. I learned how things grew, how to work cattle, and how life on the farm is constantly changing and innovating. The farm also taught me many life lessons such as the benefit of hard work, perseverance and integrity. It was through these experiences, and others I had through 4-H and FFA, that I realized the importance of farming and agriculture. It's also the greatest accomplishment of my family. I’ll always picture the look of pride on my Grandpa, dad’s, brother’s, cousins’ and uncle’s faces when they wrap up another harvest. I knew I would never be able to let go of agriculture, so I chose to pursue a career in Agronomy.

3. What are some of the main issues for society that you are concerned about?
One of the main issues for society that I’m concerned about is improving people’s knowledge of agriculture. For instance, it is important to understand that every day everyone is affected by agronomy. The food you eat, coffee you drink, and even the ethanol based gas you put in your car are examples of products of agronomy and the work of agronomists. Also, another issue I am concerned about is how to grow crops effectively and profitably all while conserving natural resources and protecting the environment.

4. Do you have any advice for those thinking about continuing their education to address the issues you’ve mentioned?
I believe in order to address the issues at hand it is important to diversify themselves. That way one can assure they are looking at all different aspects of the issue.

5. Why did you choose Iowa State University?
When I first walked into the Agronomy Department at Iowa State, I felt like I was at home. I had already fallen in love with the campus and the Agronomy Department was the icing on the cake. After my college visit and the positive experience I had with the University and the Agronomy Department, I was sold on coming to ISU.

6. What was your first year here like?
My first year at Iowa State was a whirlwind of learning experience. Not only in the field of agronomy, but also in life. I was able to develop myself both personally and professionally, as well as shape my future career path.

7. What has been your favorite class?
Agronomy 114 has been my favorite class thus far in my agronomy curriculum. I really enjoyed learning all of the basic concepts of agronomy and how they apply to real life problems. It’s also the first building block of the agronomy curriculum and it has been excited to build upon that knowledge as I take upper level classes.

8. What has been your favorite experience in the agronomy program?
I had the great opportunity to travel to Costa Rica. It was a once in a life time experience and absolutely thrilling to immerse in the diverse Costa Rican culture. Not only was I able to learn an abundance of knowledge, I developed lifelong friendships with my fellow peers.

9. You have a faculty adviser, how has your experience been with her?
My faculty adviser is Dr. Mary Wiedenhoeft. My experience with her has always been very positive. She has an upbeat infectious attitude that never fails to melt away any fears I have had. I appreciate that she is always willing to help me and makes a point to make me feel like a single person not just another student on her advising list.

10. Do you participate in any student organizations?
I have had the opportunity to participate in several student organizations including: Block and Bridle, Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority, College and Agriculture and Life Sciences Ambassadors, Alpha Zeta Fraternity, Corn Growers, and the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative Student Advisory Board.

11. Any advice for those considering a major in agronomy?
I believe it is important for people to take advantage of the undecided major and follow your heart. If you are feeling unsure about agronomy take some classes and determine if that is where your passion truly lies. When considering agronomy or any major, think about where you see yourself in the future. Ultimately it’s all about finding a career that you are passionate about and enjoy going to everyday.

12. Ten years from now, what do you want to be doing?
I truly believe the agriculture industry is composed of some of the best people. Those who are smart, have a great work ethic, and love the lifestyle. The possibilities in the agriculture industry are endless and I can’t wait to see where my future path in agriculture leads me. As of now I am unsure what exactly I will be doing. I do for sure know that I will be pursuing my passion to work in the seed industry and make an impact on not only Iowa, but the world.

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