University Ag program attends Minn. state fair

Students involved with the Minnesota State University, Mankato Agriculture program attended the Minnesota State Fair in order to get a better grasp on how people view careers in agriculture. 

Shane Bowyer, the Director of AgriBusiness and Food Innovation Program, is conducting the research with hopes to examine people’s opinions on careers in agriculture. 

Joining the University of Minnesota “Driven to Discover” research facility, the group took up shop on the second day of the fair to get as many people to fill out a survey as possible. 

“We are really trying to promote Ag careers,” said Bowyer.

Bowyer, who has been heading up the growth of the agriculture program at the University, was interested in the way that the public perceives agriculture as a career path. 

One main aspect of the way people perceive the industry is that it is “rural” or “farm-like”. This perception is something that Bowyer is trying to combat.

Several questions on the survey asked about people’s preferences as far as living situations, working situations, specifically comparing the rural and urban lifestyles. 

Baylee Sorensen, a student research assistant working with Bowyer, was among the students who attended the event. 

Sorensen’s job at the fair was to bring in as many people as possible. She was brought in through the Student Undergraduate Research Experience or “SURE” program, which was created to give undergraduate students a chance to explore the research world. 

“I was getting people to take the survey and explain the point of it,” said Sorensen. 

Sorensen,  a junior at MNSU, is currently exploring what career path to take when she graduates. 

“I wasn’t interested before this summer,” said Sorensen, talking about career opportunities in the agriculture industry, “but I had an internship at Farm America and also this research project, and I really think it would be a fun career to go into.”

The survey is available to take at

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