College student hopes to grow interest in agriculture
Originally posted on the Sioux City Journal by Nick Hytrek | Nov. 21, 2017
Hannah Borg likes that break from academics, too, but she prefers to get up early to clean out the barn or drive a tractor pulling a grain cart during harvest.
“There’s nothing that resets me more than going home and being on the farm,” said the University of Nebraska-Lincoln junior who’s among the sixth generation of Borgs to grow up on the family farm between Allen and Wakefield.
Borg knows other young people like her who feel the same way. The recently installed secretary of the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council, Borg takes the group’s role of promoting agriculture to the state’s youth seriously. She works to convince farm kids and other young people that agriculture is a way of life to be enjoyed, not endured.
“I promote not just people returning to agriculture, but I also promote the rural lifestyle,” Borg said.
It’s a lifestyle she knows well. While a Wakefield High School student, her days began at 6 a.m. with barn chores. It wasn’t an enjoyable way to start the day.
“I didn’t find the joy in agriculture because it was a chore. Getting up at 6 a.m., that was a chore,” the daughter of Terry and Debbie Borg said.
But once she went to college, she began to miss the work and time spent outdoors with her horse, Wilson, and other barn animals.
Now she can’t see herself involved in anything but agriculture. An agricultural environmental sciences communications major, Borg plans to work in agriculture-related media someday and, she hopes, live and work on a farm.
“I really like the media aspect of agriculture. I want to stay in agriculture and share the news of agriculture and the stories of agriculture,” she said.
She’s been spreading the news since the summer after her junior year in high school, when she attended the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute, a five-day event that focuses on agriculture and opportunities in the business. Borg said she was one of many who are surprised to learn there are more careers in agriculture than just farming — careers like sales, banking and finance, animal science and research and communications. She realized then that agriculture was in her future, and she began to help spread the message.
Borg got involved with the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council, the youth advocacy arm of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. The council coordinates the annual youth institute and sets up tours and career fairs. Last year, as vice president of urban youth outreach, Borg helped lead students from Lincoln elementary schools on farm tours to introduce them to what life on a farm is like.
She’s still learning herself.
“In my world, I thought of agriculture as corn and cattle. It’s so much more than traditional crops in Nebraska,” Borg said.
Run by her dad and his three brothers, the Borg farm is a traditional operation with corn, soybeans, alfalfa and cattle. As Borg has traveled to conventions and meetings and worked as an intern doing radio reporting at the FFA National Convention, she’s met people from across the country who grow fruits, vegetables and other lesser-known products. During Christmas break, Borg will be studying abroad in New Zealand to observe agricultural practices there.
“I think we still have a lot more to learn about agriculture,” she said.
Which gets her back to her current duties with the youth council and her future plans to work in the media. She’ll continue to talk to anyone about farming and share stories about the ag industry to educate the public in the hope that more people will get involved with the most important industry in her state.
“I like to share a positive image of agriculture,” she said.
She’s positive it’s a message that many people her age are open to hearing.