A passion for agriculture sparked by FFA

February 19, 2024
Natalie Beckendorf FFA.png

Pictured above l to r: FFA officers Emma Kuball, Natalie Beckendorf (CFANS), Makenzie Alberts, Brynn Lozinski, Caidyn Johnson (CLA), Noah Erickson (CFANS)

NATALIE BECKENDORF, Agricultural Communication and Marketing B.S. | International Ag. Minor

My experience as a Minnesota State FFA officer during college was a blast. I was able to apply things I was learning in the classroom when I was facilitating with students. It was awesome to see different students that I met throughout the year of my service at the University of Minnesota for different events and be able to catch up in one of my favorite environments, which is here at school.

I credit my passion for agriculture to FFA, so being able to help students find their passion or place in agriculture is inspiring and motivating within my aspirations here at college. Seeing students that I spent time with through my year of service attending or applying or getting accepted to the University of Minnesota has been extremely special.

I transferred from South Dakota State University to CFANS because I was longing for a community more fitting for myself, and I desired more rigorous coursework in agriculture communication and marketing. I had previously been exposed to the Agricultural Education Communication, and Marketing program at the University of Minnesota. I chatted with some of the current students and faculty before making the decision, and I am incredibly glad I did. 

"Transferring into CFANS was life-changing and I've loved my time here ever since."

The most positive effect from my time in FFA is that agriculture is huge and there are so many people who want to see you succeed. From my beginning time in FFA in 7th grade, I was thrown into a soils/agronomy career development event, and that's something I had never previously been exposed to. My high school agriculture teacher helped coach me, and I went to a few different events where people were willing to help me learn what it was all about and help me succeed. That has just continued to be a common thing in FFA, and I think more so, it's a common thing in agriculture. 

As I continue to grow and have different experiences, there is always at least one or two people standing by my side, helping guide me. 

"The support that I received is something that's honestly been unmatched, and I think it correlates to agriculture and FFA being a tight-knit community where everyone wants everyone to succeed for the greater good and agriculture as a whole."

My time in FFA has solidified that I'm in the right industry, I'm with the right people, and that I too can be that for someone else. The most positive effect FFA can have is being thankful for the people who have helped you get where you wanted to be, and being that person for someone else. I think that correlates with my time here at the University of Minnesota and well into my career.

CFANS celebrates National FFA Week from Feb. 17-24, 2024. FFA is the premier youth organization preparing members for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture.