Dear Christensen Farms and Targeting Excellence Board and Committee,
I am writing to thank you for awarding me the Targeting Excellence Scholarship in memory of Bob Christensen. I am very honored to have been selected as the recipient for this scholarship.
My name is Sierra Williamson and I was raised in rural southern Minnesota where I attended Martin County West High School. Currently, I am attending the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences to pursue a degree in Agriculture and Food Business Management. I plan to pursue a career in agriculture with a hope to positively impact world hunger upon graduating from the University of Minnesota.
I have an Associate of Arts Degree that I acquired from Minnesota West Community and Technical College. I hope to obtain my bachelor’s degree in the Spring of 2020 and thanks to you, I am one step closer to that goal. In my free time I volunteer with a local community development committee, From the Ground Up, to raise agricultural awareness in my local community, specifically regarding the pork production in Martin County.
The Targeting Excellence Scholarship in memorial of Bob Christensen has lightened my financial stress allowing me to focus on my education. Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community.
My passion for agriculture began as a child being raised in rural, southern Minnesota. Some of the advantages of growing up here include a close sense of community, many personal relationships and a focus on family, church, agriculture and community participation. It was here that I became involved in the Martin County West FFA, serving as chapter Reporter and Treasurer, participating in FFA research projects and assisting in charitable events such as ‘From the Ground Up.’ My family, teachers, FFA advisors, community leaders and supervisors have fueled my passion for agriculture and inspired me to search for food solutions to combat food insecurity here and around the world.
I have taken the values, experiences and education from my childhood and carried them with me to my educational career at the University of Minnesota where I am studying Agricultural and Food Business Management. I strive to be a student leader and use my roles to focus on the goal of food security solutions. Food security is when people everywhere have enough nutritious food to eat everyday. I serve as the Undergraduate Student Board President, volunteer for a local food security organization called Cooking Matters, participate in Gopher Crops and Soils, research soil health in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, serve as a representative on the Norman Borlaug Science Achievement Award Committee, promote pork as a Minnesota State Pork Ambassador and represent Land O’Lakes as a Global Food Challenge Emerging Leader. I hope to take my educational career and experiences and apply them to my future as a professional in agriculture and contribute to food solutions, specifically relating to production agriculture.
This summer I will be working as a Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge Emerging Leader to find sustainable food solutions that accommodate the predicted growth in population. This internship offered by Land O’Lakes gives 10 students from a variety of backgrounds the opportunity to contribute to agricultural-based food solutions for food security. I will travel with the team to Africa to meet with smallholder farmers and see first-hand the struggles of developing farmers and participate in service projects relating to sustainable agriculture. The emerging leaders will also travel to Washington D.C. to visit with policy makers and observe agricultural-related legislative sessions. I hope to use these experiences to expand my understanding of the challenges facing agriculture and be inspired to continue my pursuit of sustainable agriculture.
My career goal is to find sustainable solutions for conventional agriculture that push for high yields, safe farming environments and nutritious food for everyone. My experience in serving as an ambassador for the Minnesota Pork Board has taught me the potential of pork production and instilled a passion to promote animal production as a sustainable agricultural food solution. I believe that animal production is part of the food security solution and ultimate goal of giving everyone, here and around the globe, enough nutritious food to eat everyday.