I Found My Calling in Agriculture

 
Henriette Keuffel

I Found My Calling in Agriculture

Henriette Keuffel aims for a career in the agricultural sector. The Master’s degree student speaks about her passion for farming and explains why she wants to share this commitment with the public.

Henriette Keuffel

Henriette Keuffel

Henriette Keuffel, a Master’s degree student at the University of Hohenheim, Germany, has found her calling in agriculture – and will find many opportunities.

Farming always fascinated me. I grew up on a farm in Germany, so I was always surrounded by cows, pigs, horses and crops. As a teenager, I lost sight of farming though. But during my business studies a few years ago, I interned at a New Zealand dairy farm – and all of my wonderful memories of farming returned. It was a tough job, but I enjoyed working with animals and being on the tractor again. I also enjoyed the diversity of the work and being close to nature.

This experience had such an impact that I decided to pursue a career in agriculture. No matter if you raise livestock or crops, there’s just no other sector where you can try your ideas and develop solutions as much as you can in agriculture.

After my bachelor’s degree in economics, I became an Agribusiness master’s degree student in Stuttgart-Hohenheim, Germany. Economic and agricultural topics are covered during the program, and this is a great combination: Agricultural knowledge is necessary to understand farmers’ needs, while economic knowledge is necessary to make their businesses function.

If we are going to feed up to ten billion people by 2050, we need an open, innovation-driven mindset.

My courses also are also teaching me about precision farming. We regularly visit farms to learn how new applications are performing. We look at crop application maps that make farming ‘smarter.’ Even though we’re dealing with one of the oldest sciences on Earth, we’re also developing digital farming technologies. If we are going to feed up to ten billion people by 2050, we need an open, innovation-driven mindset.

Agriculture needs young talents

And we need more young people to come to agriculture with this pioneering spirit. I met so many inspiring students in Canberra, Australia, during the 2015 Youth Ag Summit. Hundred young people from 33 nations shared their interests and their concerns but also their passion for agriculture. We all aimed to find solutions to feed a growing world. Sometimes it only takes new perspectives on issues to realize what you can do in your own environment.

Supporting dialogue with the public

I now voluntarily work for diverse initiatives such as the Young Farmers’ Forum in Germany, where I answer consumer questions about modern agriculture. I think dialogue with the public is the key to tackle concerns, such as fear about crop protection products, and gain people’s understanding. We all want to eat safely and also sustainably, with future generations in mind. Farmers make this possible.

Agriculture is different than people may think. It’s one of the most modern sectors in the world. The future career perspectives for university graduates like me are broad. I’m not sure if I become a consultant, a product manager or if I’ll have my own farm. But one thing I know for sure: I never want to lose proximity to practical farming. That’s where I found my true calling.