Allison Schwieger is a junior at South Dakota State University double majoring in Agronomy and Agricultural Science with minors in Agricultural Business and Precision Agriculture. Allison grew up in Fairmont, MN where her family owns and operates a wean to finish pig farm, as well as farming corn and soybeans. Growing up on the farm sparked her passion for agriculture. “Through my work and involvement in the agricultural industry, I began learning more about agriculture as well as its importance in our everyday lives. Without agriculture (and the growing opportunities/technology that it provides us), we would not have any other way to feed the over-growing population,” says Schwieger. “The fact that the work and dedication that I (and many others) put forth, by growing safe and healthy pork/crops, was in turn feeding the nation, sparked my passion and interest in the industry”. Allison finds a great sense of pride knowing that her work is helping feed the nation and provide them with the essential nutrients and/or resources they need to thrive.
In the future, Schwieger hopes to be an agronomist and consult farmers on how to manage their crops in a productive and efficient manner. She would also like to return to the family farm and continue to work in the pork community. “Through my work in the industry moving forward, I hope to leave a lasting impact on those that I work with, including consumers, my clients, and coworkers,” Allison says. “Agriculture has granted me so many opportunities, and so I hope to represent it well in the coming years”. Schwieger is looking forward to expanding her knowledge and experience within the agricultural community through her future careers.
Allison credits her Agricultural teacher and FFA advisor, Amber Siebert, as her biggest agricultural role model. “Ms. Seibert was the one who truly started it all for me and my place in the industry. She drove me to go outside of my comfort zone consistently, and advocate for what I love: agriculture,” she says. Allison also commented on how Ms. Siebert pushed her to be the best she can be. Allison is thankful for the lasting impact that she has left on her, and her future in agriculture.
Karmen will be a senior at South Dakota State University this fall. She is majoring in Agricultural Communication and Agriculture Leadership.
Karmen got her start in agriculture growing up on a farm in west central Minnesota where her family raised pigs and grew corn and soybeans. She quickly got involved with FFA and 4-H, where her interest in agriculture continued to grow. Karmen said, “I was able to learn so much through these organizations and created connections with other young people interested in agriculture”. She has further expressed these interests through her involvement with Little International, Swine Club, Sigma Alpha Sorority, and CAFES Ambassadors.
In the future, Karmen hopes to continue to advocate for the pork industry through work in communications and public policy. She wants to support farmers by informing the public about what farmers do in the industry. “I want to help reduce the gap that currently exists between producers and consumers and help lawmakers be informed about agricultural policies to ensure that decisions affecting farmers are being made with full intention,” says Sperr. Upon graduating from SDSU, Karmen plans on pursuing a career in agricultural communications, or continuing her education by attending graduate school.
Karmen credits the women she has met along her journey for her confidence and her ability to use her skills to be an asset. “As a young woman in agriculture, I had some doubts about my ability to be successful in a male-dominated industry,” says Sperr. “I will forever be thankful for the women in agriculture who have shown me that I am capable of many things and everyone who has believed in me along the way”. Karmen is grateful for all the leaders that she has met along the way.
Zoey Schnetzel attends South Dakota State University and majors in Agricultural Communications and has minors in Animal Science, Journalism with Photography Emphasis, and Entrepreneurship.
Growing up on a small sheep farm, Zoey was surrounded by agriculture. Once she was old enough to join 4H, she got involved in the sheep and swine projects. These areas quickly became a strong passion for Zoey and she loved shaing them with others. Studying either agriculture communications or agriculture education was the clear choice for Zoey.
In Zoey’s future, she hopes to continue connecting with consumers. “In the near future I hope to work on behalf of a check off, such as Minnesota Pork, as I really value the relationship connection between farmers and consumers,” says Zoey. She is most excited by speaking with consumers, building graphic design material, and capturing the stories of agriculture through photography.
Additionally, Zoey hopes to have a sheep, dairy and pig farm in the future and give back to the youth in 4-H and FFA.
Zoey is inspired by individuals who have created ways to share their farm story whether it’s through a social media platform or selling products at farmers markets. “This semester I have been privileged to study abroad in New Zealand and connect with several farmers to learn about their operations and experiences. These farmers are some of the kindest and most hospitable people I’ve ever met. They have taught me a great deal and are incredible inspiration and role models, I will cherish the time I got to spend with them on their farms long into the future,” Zoey says. Zoey is returning to the States more inspired than ever to share stories of Minnesota farmers.
Brynn is a second-year student at South Dakota State University studying Animal Science and Agricultural Communication with a minor in Swine Science.
Brynn grew up on a diversified livestock farm and was heavily involved in 4-H and FFA. Brynn started working in pig barns nearly five years ago and started growing her understanding of the industry. That paired with many opportunities like attending state pork congress events, National Pork Industry Conference, and World Pork Expo, have fueled her to want to stay within the pork industry as she goes through the next level of her education.
In Brynn’s future, she hopes to remain in communications working with pork production companies sharing their messages to the public. Currently, she is responsible for the creation and development of informational content. She hopes that with this now and in the future, it unites people in an understanding of the industry as well as builds support within the company and community it serves.
Brynn credits her grandma (RuthAnn Karty), she was a Farm Advocate in the early 1980s helping farmers be financially informed to battle the farm crisis at the time. Brynn says, “she is one that has always supported me as I have grown in understanding agriculture in general. It is never uncommon to meet someone my grandma has worked with in her time as an advocate as well as seeing her pictures in books and stories of farmers she has helped throughout the years”. Brynn has learned a lot from the generosity of her grandma, and the willingness to step up in the agricultural field.
Morgan Thoele will be attending South Dakota State University to major in Agricultural Business and Animal Production.
Thoele grew up on her family farm with commercial pig finishing barns and cattle. Her interest in agriculture was sparked through being able to work with the animals.
Morgan hopes to leave an impact in agriculture and get more people involved and help others learn more about what the industry has to offer.
Her biggest role model in agriculture is her dad. “He has taught me everything I know about the pork industry and has helped me spark interest in continuing my education in agriculture,” says Morgan. Morgan has a bright future in agriculture and is passionate about bringing new people into agriculture.