FBN Scholar - Austin Thomas Carlson, South Dakota State University (SDSU)

Farmers Business Network is searching for the next generation of leaders in agriculture. Each FBN Scholar has received a $1,000 scholarship towards their study in the 2015-2016 academic year. 

FBN Scholar: Austin Thomas Carlson

University: South Dakota State University, Class of 2016

What is your major? Agriculture Systems Technology

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Left to Right: FBN South Dakota Rep Travis Fawcett, FBN SDSU Scholarship Recipient Austin Thomas Carlson, FBN SDSU Scholarship Recipient Jessica Riediger, Dean Barry Dunn

Born & Raised: Garretson, South Dakota

What do you like most about your school and its agriculture department?

I enjoy South Dakota State University for the diversity of courses relating to agriculture, that will prepare me for a career. Both on the business/technical side in addition to the production side of agriculture. The caring and genuinely passionate faculty that teach these courses are generally more than willing to assist in class or outside the classroom to ensure I clearly understand the material, not only for the next exam, but to help me with a lifelong career. Many of my current or previous teachers and I are on first name basis, in which I truly have developed lifelong friendships.

What ag related groups do you participate in on campus?

Currently on campus, I serve as the president of the Agriculture Systems Technology & Agriculture/Bio systems Engineering Club, leading meetings and bringing in speakers to benefit the club. My goal is to encourage membership aiding to keep incoming students motivated to stay in school. This club is involved with various community service events, agricultural related educational tours, and hosts an annual fundraiser servicing lawnmowers for the Brookings community. I also stay busy serving as an ambassador for the college of Agriculture and Biological Sciences. This volunteer organization meets with area high school students to provide guidance and input for furthering their education, specifically in an agricultural related field.

What are your career aspirations after college?

My career aspirations after college include working in some area within the agriculture machinery field with my ultimate goal to begin farming with my father. Precision agriculture is also a desired career path for me as well.

Do you have a family background in agriculture?

I grew up on a family farm where we produce corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and beef cattle. From childhood up to the present time, I enjoy all aspects of production agriculture. From watching newborn calves in the springtime to feeding them out in the feedlot is an exciting transition to witness, same as small seeds growing to large plants with many seeds. The generational and family aspect of our operation is enjoyable too as it is neat to have the opportunity to work with close family members daily.

If you could change anything about the agriculture industry or farming in the United States, what would it be?

If I could change one thing about agriculture in the United States, I would like to see greater support for the agriculture industry as a whole. Most consumers are several generations removed from a farm, many have never even set foot on one, unfortunately this translates into misconceptions regarding agricultural practices specifically with animal agriculture and crop farming. Policies and other regulations unfortunately can stem from those who do not necessarily understand the use of modern practices, when this happens, the whole industry suffers. As an agriculturist, I along with the rest of the industry must take every opportunity to help educate the public and make our industry more transparent to the facts and reason we practice the way we do.

Learn more about the Farmers Business Network Scholarship.