Agriculture education teacher Jaclynn Knutson grew up on a farm in South Dakota where she learned the value of hard work. Her experiences and responsibilities growing up on a family farm helped her become the leader she is today. Jaclynn has spent several years as an active member of the National FFA Organization, serving as the 2016 – 17 South Dakota State Reporter. She has also supported Niman Ranch customers and chefs at Next Generation Foundation events and conferences, written blogs and been a part of media interviews.
Q: What inspired you to pursue a degree in agricultural communications?
A: There are too many people that don’t understand where their food comes from and how it gets to their dinner plate. With my passion for agriculture, it is very important to me to share that message with others.
Q: How do you feel your upbringing on a farm has played a role in shaping your work ethic?
A: My family farm has helped develop and mold all my current values and morals. Through farming, I have learned the importance of dedication, grit, hard work, perseverance and how to be flexible. I have always been a big to-do list type of person. Lessons on the farm taught me that different things will pop up throughout the day and learning how to deal with and prioritize those activities is essential to the continuation of the operation.
Q: What are your plans for after you graduate?
A: I plan to have a career in communications, marketing and/or sales for an agriculture company to educate others about the industry.
Q: How has the Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation helped you achieve your goals?
A: I had a goal of graduating college debt-free. Through scholarships and my two part-time jobs, I was successful in accomplishing that goal. Thanks to the Niman Ranch Next Generation Foundation and other financial assistance, I am better able to focus on my academic experience – my classes, learning to apply that information to my future career and making connections to further my career – and stay involved with the community. I am also able to be involved in various on-campus clubs and philanthropy events with the community.
Q: Why is receiving scholarship assistance important to you and other students?
A: With college prices increasing annually, financial assistance is very important to students. By choosing to invest in the future generation of agriculturalists, everyone benefits – especially those who want to return to the farm.
Q: What is the best part about growing up on a farm?
A: What I enjoy most from growing up on the farm is watching my hard work pay off over time. Many projects on the farm do not receive immediate satisfaction but having the patience to watch my hard work be rewarded is very important to me.
Q: What would you say to scholarship donors to show how much their donations have meant to you and other scholarship recipients?
A: By making the choice to invest in the next generation of sustainable agriculture leaders, you are showing your dedication to and passion for our sustainable industry. Without those like you, I would not be where I am in my college education. For that, I will be forever grateful. This scholarship program is like none other I have received. Through making connections in the industry and getting to feel like part of a family, supporting the Next Generation Foundation is a great way to show your dedication to the advancement of family farming and sustainable agriculture.