A Day In Agriculture
The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Research and Education Center was and is a critical resource not only in western Kentucky, but the entire United States for animal science and crop science. In 1973, I had my first “real” job at the UKREC. I came off the farm so I understood what to do, I just didn’t understand why I was doing it. My work there helped me understand not only the what (application) but more important, the why (education.) Let me explain.
Become The Expert
Travis Legleiter is an Extension Assistant Professor at the UKREC. Travis is a member of my Vision 2050 Emerging Leaders Program. Through this program he is participating in developing his leadership skills for an entire year, however, he is already a recognized authority in his field of agriculture.
Travis invited me to come to his presentation at the UKREC 2019 Field Day where he was talking to professionals all across the country about weed science. He was talking not to farmers, but experts. This was experts learning from experts and I was impressed. Travis was training the other experts with new information to teach, train and share with other people.
It was truly wonderful to be there, surrounded by agriculture experts. Even though I didn’t understand much of what was being said, they completely understood. That encouraged me to get better at understanding what I talk about so other people can understand and apply it better, too.
Learning Should Never End
This day just kept getting better. About halfway into the morning, I ran into this guy, Nolan Mullican.
I was climbing on a trailer to be taken to some food plots and I had to ask this young man if I could join him. As he scooted over, I jumped in and greeted him, “Hi, how are you?” I noticed that he had a hat on that said Hutson Inc. Hutson, Inc. happens to be one of my clients, so I asked, “Do you work for Hutson?” He said, “I do. This summer I am an intern.”
Then he looked at me strangely and he said, “Do you mind if I ask you what your name is?” I said, “Sure, I am Phillip Van Hooser.” He immediately lit up.
He said, “I was a member of the Helena Agri-Enterprises Intern Class of 2018. I have kept up with you but I didn’t recognize you in your cap and sunglasses until now. I’ve read your Willie’s Way book and I read your blogs — I love everything you say!
I want you to know how much I appreciate you coming and talking to the intern group at Helena. It was a wonderful foundation that I am now able to build on. I am from Owensboro, KY and am entering my senior year of college at the Hutson School of Agriculture at Murray State University and I am sure I’ll be able to apply the same information as I move in to my new job about a year from now.”
I’ve had the good fortune to not only work with Hutson, Helena and Murray State’s School of Agriculture but to get to know the leaders of these organizations and their commitment to the on-going education of their employees, interns and students through hands-on application.
The Big Takeaway
It was a pleasure to be Travis’ guest and to bump into Nolan that gorgeous summer morning at the UKREC Field Day. But my big takeaway from both these guys was the reminder that continuing education (learning that doesn’t end) plus application (hard work) — both pursued passionately — leads us to a level of excellence and expertise that companies and colleagues recognize, seek and reward. I’d say that’s a lesson most of us need to remember. Thanks guys!
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