"Agvocate" aims high
CFANS undergraduate student Megan Meyer hopes to continue her family's farming legacy
LOUISA SMITH, AGRICULTURAL COMMUNICATION & MARKETING, BS '25
Tucked away in a small Minnesota town of around 900 people is a dairy farm built off of generations of innovative farming ideas. Growing up on this farm, Megan Meyer developed a strong sense of leadership, inspired by the trailblazing efforts of the farmers before her and shaped by her unique experiences. Meyer is a junior at the University of Minnesota studying Agricultural Communication and Marketing. She someday hopes to continue the family legacy.
“Being a Meyer, it’s all about being proud of where you came from and having a lot of pride in your farm,” Meyer said.
Meyer is inspired by her family members, many of whom are leaders in their own right. Her mother was on the Minnesota Milk Board and advocated for local farmers. Her grandpa was a county commissioner, someone who “advocated and stepped up for the farmers of Winona County.” She credits her father with taking the lead on making the decisions that make their family farm different from others.
“We maximize input costs but that really maximizes output,” Meyer said. “We really see the benefits of prioritizing our vet and nutritionist because it leads to high milk production. That's what inspires me to go back to the farm and be a leader.”
Initially Meyer was not interested in leadership or policy related fields like those she grew up around. Her interest in politics developed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and grew as she realized her parents and grandpa were leaders themselves. She started her journey to becoming the agriculture advocate, or “agvocate,” she is today at a young age. Meyer participated in various agriculture related programs including 4-H, FFA and cattle shows, as well as acting as a dairy princess, a goodwill ambassador for the dairy community.
Her start to college was different from many of her peers. She was committed to Iowa State University as a political science major. She found a roommate and made a commitment to clubs before deciding Iowa State was not the right fit for her. Meyer’s older sister attended UMN and helped Meyer make the decision to transfer before her freshman year began. She transferred from political science to agricultural business before finally settling on Agricultural Communication and Marketing as a major.
“[ACM] is not where I thought I’d be but it fits my mission and personality,” Meyer said.
Meyer is involved in the campus dairy judging team, Beta of Clovia, Gopher Dairy Club, Agricultural Business Club, AECM Club and Block and Bridle. Over the past summer she was a Princess Kay finalist, meaning she was an ambassador of the dairy community. This opportunity solidified her interest in advocacy for the agriculture community. Her involvement in college has helped shape her perspective.
“Coming to the University of Minnesota was a whole different experience where I get to continue to experience dairy farming and pride of where I came from and pride of Minnesota, but also have [developed] such a worldly view because of the people that I’ve met and the diverse group that I’ve talked to about all these different things,” Meyer said.
Over the summer, Meyer interned with the Minnesota Pork Board.
“As I worked for Minnesota Pork this summer, I saw just how important board members are in the functioning of the checkoff dollars and that really inspired me,” Meyer said.
Meyer learned she could see herself in a leadership or advocacy position like that of her supervisors. Instead of following and supporting the politician as she saw herself doing in the past, she now wants to be the politician. Throughout her exposure to people with different beliefs and priorities, Meyer wants to understand different perspectives and bring people together.
“I don’t have one set place where I want to be,” Meyer said. “I want to help cows and I want to help farmers, whether that be with mental health or policy. I want to think about how I could benefit my family and the people of Winona County, the farmer.”
Meyer has many goals for both herself and the future of agriculture.
“My goal is that every year all farms can become more sustainable,” Meyer said. “It can be a hard topic for some people, but the only way we are going to be able to keep going is if we become more sustainable.”
Meyer’s confidence as a leader has evolved and skyrocketed as a result of her experiences, some sought out and some occurring naturally. She has rolled with the punches on her journey to strengthen her skills as an “agvocate.”
“I feel really passionate about bringing all [agriculture] industries together so that we can all fight the good fight together,” Meyer said.