Madison Schafer

Madison Schafer

2018 Bob Christensen Award (Minnesota)
2017 Undergraduate Award (Minnesota)
2016 Undergraduate Award (Minnesota)

I would like to take the time to say thank you so much to all of the Targeting Excellence sponsors, board of directors, and state committees for all you do to help students in agriculture to succeed. I am so grateful and humbled for being selected as a scholarship recipient for the 2018 year, but I can’t quite express how truly wonderful it feels to be a part of an industry that encourages and supports students like me in our future careers. I have been very fortunate to be a Targeting Excellence scholarship recipient for the pasts three years of college, and can honestly say that it has made such a difference for me in college by simply having less of a financial burden to think about each semester. Once again, I want to say thank you for allowing me to be a part of this program for the past three years. It’s been a true honor and pleasure, and I look forward to staying involved with the organization even beyond my college years.

God Bless,
Maddie Schafer

Hometown:

Goodhue, MN

School:

South Dakota State University

Major:

Agricultural Communications and Agricultural Leadership

Career Goals:

Communication is something we do every day. Whether we realize it or not, we communicate in limitless ways with countless people every day. Sometimes this is with family members or co-workers, other times we communicate goals and aspirations inside ourselves, and still other times we communicate to a completely different audience that may not be as knowledgeable of the daily practices implemented into farming.

Growing up in agriculture, I’ve realized that agriculturist’s lack of necessity to communicate and engage with consumers is as much to blame for the misunderstandings of food production practices as is the urbanization of our society. In generations past, our society was much more involved in production agriculture as a whole, and therefore, misconceptions were nearly unheard of. However, in recent years, our world has shifted to one where the vast majority of citizens don’t understand how their food gets to their plates.

With the current situation we are in today, it’s not enough to just know that you’re doing a quality job each and every day. With less than two percent of Americans being involved in agriculture and more people becoming multi-generationally removed from farming, we as farmers must do more than the daily tasks of farm life. We must become advocates, engagers, and positive faces of agriculture who are willing and open to the conversations that need to be had in order to continue living out the farming legacy that’s been paved for us from generations past.

This is where my passion and knowledge for agriculture along with my speaking abilities and social skills all play a vital role. My career goal is simple; to bring all sectors of agriculture together working to engage in conversation with the world as a united front. To achieve that ultimate goal, there are many steps I will take in the next five to ten years. After acquiring a degree in agricultural communications and leadership, I desire to work closely within the agriculture industry as a spokesperson and consultant for farmers to turn towards for guidance in regard to the best ways to communicate and share their unique farming stories.

Along with that, I want to make a difference with my alternative views and out-of-the-box thinking to change our society’s views on agriculture so that farmers can continue doing what they do best: feeding our rapidly growing world. With my passion for agriculture and natural speaking abilities, I aim to be out on a speaking circuit doing just that. No longer will we be separated by crops verses animals or organic verses conventional, but instead sharing our story as one voice of agriculture. At the end of the day, we must all remember the passion we have for farming. After all, farming isn’t just a way to make a living; it’s a way to make a life.