Despite being in the heart of agriculture, Minnesota State University, Mankato does not have a related major or minor. However, because of a recent designation as a non-land grant college of agriculture (NLGCA), the university has been taking strides toward becoming recognized as a school where students can get jobs in the industry.
Last semester, Christensen Farms and the College of Business Professional Selling courses partnered to raise awareness to a start-up student club which eventually became AgToday. The recognized student organization (RSO) officially launched in January and has been busy building the membership and conducting activities.
AgToday, according to President Samuel Schrauth, “is committed to connecting students to people who are involved in the agriculture industry to gain [more] knowledge.”
The club benefits students as they begin to network with potential employers through various events. Hoping to create more events next year, Schrauth said the club is looking forward to “learning about the areas of agriculture that we don’t think of [as often], such as the world of technology and engineering.”
Alli Theis, a member of AgToday, enjoys getting to meet other students that are interested in agriculture.
“It has been fun to learn about the businesses in the Mankato area that provide so many different types of foods and industries,” Theis said. “It gives students a connection to the community and teaches valuable skills they can use in the future.”
The club is open to any major interested in careers in agriculture and food and gives members the chance to connect with people in the industry.
“Our goal is to make more of a presence on campus,” said Theis. “I think it’s a common misconception that agriculture solely involves the farmer, but it actually accounts for 20 percent of the economy.”
Sam Ziegler, the Director of GreenSeam, has been involved with the club to help promote jobs and careers related to agriculture. GreenSeam is a local non-profit that is working to brand the region as the Silicon Valley of agriculture.
“There are a number of career opportunities related to agriculture students are currently studying for right here at the University,” Ziegler said. “Careers such as accounting, marketing, management, engineering, sciences, and natural resources.”
The AgToday club is a great opportunity to network and learn about the careers for all students whether they are from a rural or urban community.