A quest for equity in ag

February 1, 2024
Mesay Doyamo

Mesay Doyamo, BS '21 agricultural education, reflects on a career in teaching ag to the next generation of leaders. He currently teaches ag and advises FFA at Willmar High School. He enjoys being in the classroom and sharing his love of agriculture with students on a daily basis.

A love for the land 

I grew up on a family farm back in Hawassa, Ethiopia where I was exposed to various aspects of agriculture. My family, and community members such as Clyde Bellecourt, and Michael Chaney instilled in me a love for the land and a deep appreciation for the hard work and dedication that goes into farming. This upbringing sparked my interest in agriculture, and I decided to pursue it as a career. 

A quest for equity in ag

My passion as an Ethiopian Diaspora agriculture teacher is woven into the fabric of history, culture, and the quest for equity within the agricultural realm. By emphasizing these specific aspects such as inclusivity and diversity in agriculture, urban agriculture and community garden, entrepreneurship and economic empowerment, stem in agriculture, environmental justice and sustainable agriculture, I aim to empower my students to become informed, compassionate, and proactive contributors to a more inclusive and sustainable agricultural future.

Mentors along the way

I was fortunate to have mentors/professors like Dr. Amy Smith, Clyde Bellecourt, Dr. Robert Johnson,Michael Chaney, Mary Buschette, to name a few. Their dedication to teaching and their ability to inspire a love for agriculture in their students greatly influenced my decision to pursue a career in agriculturaleducation. Their guidance and support have been invaluable throughout my journey. 

On embracing diversity

My advice to CFANS students of color is to embrace diversity and leverage it as a strength. Agriculture is a field that benefits immensely from diverse perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds. Seek out mentorship, connect with fellow students, and be proud of your unique contributions to the field. Your perspective can bring about positive change and innovation in the agricultural industry. 

On what's next

In terms of education, I am currently in the process of obtaining my masters degree to deepen my knowledge and contribute to research in sustainable agriculture practices. Professionally, I aspire to continue teaching and mentoring students while actively engaging in community organization such as Project Sweetie Pie to promote awareness and understanding of modern agricultural practices. I also hope to contribute to policy discussions that shape the future of agriculture, with a focus on sustainability and inclusivity.

In Advancing Agriculture, members of CFANS’ Black community share their pathways in agriculture. From student researchers to faculty members and alumni, their contributions have an impact here in Minnesota and around the world.