I notice at each stop how passionate everyone is about their work. The hosts cannot wait to tell us what they do and give us a glimpse inside their world. I would say that same passion Class V shares about their role in AG, and everyone in the previous classes shares as well. Our shared passion brings us together; we love the same industry and what it stands for.
Our group is diverse in several ways, one of them being experience. Some have had multiple career paths, careers spanning different industries, interests outside AG, an AG gig in addition to their day job. Like the host farms, our cohort takes a concept and makes that dream happen using their experience and a lot of sweat equity.
On our most recent stops, I think of Puffenbarger using milking machines for tapping maple trees and Jennifer Leech’s grandfather creating a trout farm from a natural spring. Those ideas must have seemed wild at the time and still are in a way. Our group has also challenged the norm and stepped out of our comfort zones to explore a different path. Sarah Morton is bringing in additional revenue streams and creating an agrotourism experience for guests. Ryan Clouse and his Christmas Tree farm in addition to his job at Farm Credit. John Fant is returning to his family farm in Grayson after a military career. I could go person by person and list something that puts them in the category of passion + industrious. Each person I find inspiring, and I see our connection as sharing ideas and insights on various topics.
After the sessions, I come home and feel excited by the things I saw at the host farms and conversations with my cohort. Being around other people with those different experiences and perspectives but shared passion is very uplifting. I cannot wait to see what our cohort accomplishes individually and collectively. Our only limitations are ourselves.