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  • Kristen Herring-Asleson

Discovering Life's Passion Early

"Growing up on a farm and in a family full of agriculturists, I always knew I wanted to pursue a degree in the agricultural industry."


A couple of weeks ago, the Women at Work column centered on a young high school graduate who was soon to celebrate her commencement and degree as a registered nurse. If readers will recall, there were three young ladies who were briefly mentioned as well. Those three ladies have had four-year journeys of their own and are looking forward to commencements this spring as well.


To continue the series, I would like to introduce Leah, who was also a 2017 graduate from Lanesboro High School . This May, Leah will graduate from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a bachelor of science degree in agricultural and food business management and a minor in animal science.


“Growing up on a farm and in a family full of agriculturists, I always knew I wanted to pursue a degree in the agricultural industry," she said. "My parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents have all been inspirations to me. They have faced some of the toughest times in agriculture but still have an undying passion for their profession and feeding the world. I look up to their resilience so much.”


Can you picture the passion in Leah’s voice as she shares this about her family? It gave me goosebumps! What an inspiration for her to carry on and share!


When it comes to goals, Leah’s are just as strong and passionate as those of the generations that surround and support her.


“My goal is to help farmers and businesses in the agriculture industry reach their highest potential. A career in the agricultural business industry will allow me to do just that," she said. "There are so many careers where I can analyze data and connect with farmers and business owners on how they can improve their operations. I’ve always enjoyed working with numbers and connecting with farmers, and a degree in agriculture business allows me to find a career where I can do both.”


For fun, I asked each of these gals what their favorite college experience was that confirmed their career decision. Leah responded, with a smile, there were multiple to choose from, but for her, “Getting to connect with and make lifelong friendships with those who share the same passion as myself makes me excited for the future. Also, I loved my internship with the National Pork Board. This gave me the opportunity to intern in international marketing and work with some of the pork industry’s best and brightest while serving our nation’s pork producers.”


Leah’s ideal job after graduation is one where she is able to analyze an agricultural business’ production and performance to find where the business can improve and reach its highest potential. She feels strongly that spending her childhood on the farm has given her the passion to help and support producers and doing so would bring her great joy. In addition, being able to promote agriculture and support farmers is ultra-important to her.


To those students struggling with what to do after high school, Leah had some straightforward, poignant advice, “Keep your mind open and step outside your comfort zone when given the opportunity. There are so many jobs and careers out there that we aren’t exposed to in high school. Do not be afraid to change your major. Follow your heart and your passion and you will do amazing things.”

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