Editor’s Note: Farm Credit has an active internship program for students who are interested in pursuing a career in agriculture. This series of blogs is written by our 2017 marketing interns, Morgan Figgins and BreAnn Fields. It will be featuring agvocates around our area monthly.
“When I was younger, I wish someone would have told me how fun 4-H was going to be,” Megan Millison, the current Miss Maryland Agriculture says. She has always had a passion for agriculture and it has shown through her involvement in 4-H since she was eight, FFA since her freshman year of high school, and other ag related organizations like Farm Bureau.
Megan held the office of recreation leader with the Rocky Ridge Progressive 4-H Club, where she was able to come up with creative games for meetings to make 4-H even more fun than it already is. She has also served as the ambassador, secretary, and President of the Catoctin High School FFA Chapter.
Megan plans to continue to follow her passion for agriculture this fall, as she travels to Kentucky to start her college career at Murray State. “This industry, and my experience with 4-H and FFA, has helped me get into my dream college. It is such a great ag school,” says Megan.
“I was counting down the months and days until I was eight years old – old enough to be a 4-H member,” Megan recalls. Her family has no ag background, but her brother had a love for agriculture and raised and showed pigs through 4-H. Being the younger sibling, Megan wanted to do whatever her big brother was doing, so she started out showing pigs, and gained lamb and goat projects as she got more involved.
Megan has many memories from being a 4-H member, but one that she talks fondly about is the year she won Reserve Grand Champion Market Lamb at The Great Frederick Fair. “I started off with this crazy lamb that I couldn’t do anything with. But I kept working and working with it, hoping something good would come out of the frustration,” says Megan. “When I got picked for Reserve Grand Champion Lamb, all the hard work and frustration finally paid off.”
Megan’s successful 4-H and FFA experiences would not have been possible without determination. “When you raise an animal, large or small, you create a goal for yourself and that animal, and strive the entire year to reach that goal,” she describes.
Through the memories and life changing experiences, Megan knows she could have never made it through 4-H or FFA without her friends. “I have met so many individuals that can help me gain more knowledge about all of my projects or interests that I have in the ag industry. That has been the most rewarding thing.”
Their advice, your advice
Amy Jo Poffenberger, Megan’s FFA advisor, has made a huge impact on her ag career. She always gives her advice when she needs it. One time in particular, Megan remembers when she had to give a speech on a neglected horse that she adopted. The horse ended up passing away a week before the speech and even though Megan didn’t want to go through with it, Amy Jo guided and supported her, and Megan was able to overcome her emotions to give the speech. “She pushed me to do my best, and told me that even when the times get tough keep pushing through” Megan says.
Megan received great advice from various ag influencers over the years, and she never thought that someday someone would be asking her to give advice to those younger than her. Megan says, “Get involved. If you have a passion for something, go towards it 100%.”
She has also given advice to people who have no ag background. When she first got involved in the ag industry, she was shocked by the amount of people who didn’t understand agriculture. “I thought when I got involved in agriculture, everyone was going to know something about it but people think they don’t need agriculture. We need it! Agriculture is so important in our daily lives,” she emphasizes. If people have a question about ag, don’t be afraid to ask. “Instead of turning to social media for your answers, hang out with a farmer for a day and get to see what agriculture really is,” says Megan.
Through all the advice she has received and all the experiences she’s had, Megan has grown tremendously in her ag career. She started off as the shy eight year old in the back of the room, and now she can talk in front of a large group of people. “I never thought the ag industry would make such a huge difference in my life.”