Charlie and Casey Ellington from Stark County are the editors of the October 2022 Growing our Generation enewsletter, featuring insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals.Read More
MaKayla Eggleton of Fayette County is the editor of the May 2022 Growing our Generation enewsletter, featuring insights and ideas directly from Ohio’s young farmers and food and agricultural professionals. She is a member of the state Young Agricultural Professionals Committee.
I am MaKayla Eggleton, and I was born and raised in Fayette County. I currently am serving as a first year member of the Young Agricultural Professionals State Committee. In December 2020, I virtually received my bachelor’s degree in agriculture specializing in agribusiness and applied economics from The Ohio State University. Where am I now? You can find me in meetings, behind a computer deep in Adobe, installing various displays in showrooms, photographing inventory or visually branding at events to name a few as Bane-Welker Equipment’s marketing manager for Ohio.
Although I did not grow up first-hand on a farm, I am grateful for the community and experiences that have driven me to where I am today. Through various small animal projects and/or food related projects in 4-H to Career Development Events in FFA, I recognized the skill sets these organizations develop that made me who I am today – along with things I wish I would’ve taken advantage of more when I had the opportunity.
During college, I made the 50-minute commute from home to class several times a week. Living at home during college came with its advantages and disadvantages – I wasn’t as involved on campus but was able to invest more at the community level. While in college, I joined the Fayette County Farm Bureau board of trustees, where I have served as secretary the last two years.
My passion for photography stemmed from a 4-H project I did many years ago. Throughout high school, I would develop my skill through sporting events. Little did I know then, marketing would be the path I would take. I started college as a pre-nursing major and noticed the lack of understanding of my background and the supply chain from my cohort. By the next semester, I switched majors to be within the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. I interned with GrowNextGen in partnership with the Ohio Soybean Council for education and outreach as well as a public relations intern for the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association. Meaningful relationships create opportunities to elevate your network. With a relationship focus in mind, it takes trust to build a relationship.
Although my hobby for photography is on a part-time basis outside of work, the relationships I have built through clientele has abundantly multiplied my reach and opportunities. Through working with direct-to-consumer beef operations to working for a local grain bin dealership after college, I experience the data behind intentional posts. Brand identity is the visual elements of your brand. It is the collection of color, design and logo that identify and distinguish the brand in the consumers’ minds. Consumers recognize a brand and interact with the people behind the brand.
From my experience, interactions rise through real action pictures rather than designed posts. Having apparel/cups/hats with a logo? Putting your logo on your meat label? Consumers begin to transcend their trust from the people to bridging the brand with the people.
To be a young, female professional in agriculture, I will not lie it is intimidating but I enjoy the challenge. I am excited to see more women entering the industry and nothing is more empowering than networking with women in my company and industry through various conferences and organizations. I appreciate my parents’ efforts to instill the value of hard work in me from a young age to continue to encourage me to be the best version of myself. Outlets such as podcasts and social media influencers like Mary Pat Sass allow me to relate and get the bigger picture. My two tips for success are:
- Give yourself grace – You can attend all trainings or complete multiple certifications but in time, you might burn yourself out. You will acquire the skills and knowledge over time and experience. You are capable of great things as long as you believe in your abilities.
- Find your people – In the workplace or community, people want to invest in you and your personal/professional career. It is okay to ask for help if you are not confident in a segment of the business. Share the wealth through encouraging your friends’ small businesses.
In the agricultural industry, we are working with multigenerational operations. How do we create the right fit in a marketing mix when we have some who prefer print, some who prefer podcast/digital and some who prefer email? The right mix is knowing your audience. Ask questions to your customer; ask questions to yourself.
Recipe for success:
- Who is my target audience?
- How is my product satisfying the need of my target audience over my competition?
- How will the target audience know I have what they need?
I'm eternally grateful for the support Ohio Farm Bureau scholarships provided in helping me turn my dreams into reality.Available scholarships
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.Leadership development
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.Business Solutions
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.Young Ag Professionals program
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
Jonanthan and Alyssa Zucker farm in Marion and Wyandot counties. They are in their last term on the State Young Agricultural Professionals Committee and serve as co-chairs.Read More