Hannah Schrader

Growing our Generation: The evolution of my agricultural journey

Hannah Schrader from Hocking County is the editor of the June 18, 2018 edition of Growing our Generation, featuring insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals.

Hello Young Agriculturalist! I am Hannah Schrader, a Hocking County resident, who sometimes finds my way into Clinton County. I am a full-time student at Wilmington College majoring in agricultural communications and minoring in sustainability. My journey into finding an agriculturally related path was born from the passion of living on my family farm in the rural hills of Hocking County.

I grew up listening to the many different perspectives of each family member! My parents made sure I was exposed to every farm-focused learning opportunity. Most of the time, my life lessons consisted of sending me up the hill, through the hay field to my grandparents’ house (like over the river and through the woods but the farm-kid edition). Along with this short commute, I became observant to the many different activities on our generational farm…simple things, like the cattle grazing in the pasture across the road, the noisy sheep in the barn and the impressive quality of the hay. The perspective of each and every family member allowed progressive improvement to each important aspect of our farm, all the while contributing to the evolution of my agricultural journey.

When the end also marks the beginning

Hannah SchraderWe have done it all! From the halter breaking to the show ring teaching, these are all common components that showmen face through the progression of their careers. When I started showing, I was young. My first learning experiences were watching my older brother and other showmen in the show ring. I wanted to be just like them. The younger kids in the barn would watch every movement, both in and outside the ring. We all knew that one day, we would have their ability. In time, just as the older people did for me, I began to pass my knowledge and skills on to the next generation. Once my show career started to come to an end, I realized I was the oldest showman in the barn; I was the one being watched.  

There is a final transition from the older showmen experience as they end their show career.  They pass on not only their information but instill a passion for animals and the industry. The trophies will collect dust and the newspaper articles will become outdated, but the reassurance of knowing that someone learned from you, eases the changeover. To the showmen who have passed on their legacy and the ones closely approaching, we have done it all. We now see it from a different angle. We watch and cheer from the stands while the generations that learned from us put our lessons into practice. Past and present showmen, be the start of it all! Show your passion and encourage a new beginning.

Life as a collegian

schrader-garden“Hands-on Learning. Hands-on Living.” This motto from Wilmington College extends beyond the classroom and follows us into our professional careers. The professors encourage those without the traditional background in agriculture to begin their understanding and extend the knowledge of those already pre-established. The college’s efforts in creating a hands-on experience allow the students to prepare for the agricultural industry through networking opportunities, educational events, and student organizations. With organizations like Collegiate Farm Bureau, we are able to gather as young agricultural professionals to discuss pressing matters in the industry. By learning and growing from the hands-on environment, I am prepared for the future in hands-on living.

Preparing for discussion

  • Why get started in agriculture?
  • How can agriculture overcome skepticism of foreign trade?
  • Is it big business?
  • Are GMOs bad?

These are only a few questions that we may face as agriculturalists. Our first initial response is to defend, however, we now need to listen, discuss and educate.

Hannah SchraderThe American Farm Bureau Federation organizes discussion meets to simulate a committee meeting. The design of the competition is to ensure that each voice is heard. The competitors work together by providing various statements, both supporting and opposing. During the collegiate meet, my eyes were opened to a new way of promoting agricultural understanding. We can view the conversation as a discussion with achievable solutions. As agriculturalists, we intend to educate and connect the public to our farms. Therefore, opposed to debating on the right and wrong, we can work together in providing answers.

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This e-newsletter is brought to you by Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Ag Professionals. Learn more about Farm Bureau membership, including a discounted category for those 18-24 years old.

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Hannah Schrader is a Hocking County resident and a full-time student at Wilmington College majoring in agricultural communications and minoring in sustainability.