Students pay for college with agriculture experience

Eulises Corrales, agricultural technician, and Jocelyn Flowers, senior in animal sciences and industry, milk K-State dairy cows on Jan. 29, 2017. (File Photo by Regan Tokos | The Collegian)

In the uncertain agriculture industry —where good years follow bad years and bad years follow good years — students in the College of Agriculture have found some stability in farm work.

For Brooke Marshall, sophomore in animal sciences and industry, and Leah Scholz, junior in animal sciences and industry, a background in the agriculture industry led them to the College of Agriculture and provided them with the income necessary to pay for college.

Originally from Halstead, Kansas, Marshall said she grew up with a passion for cattle from a young age, as her uncles own and operate a cow/calf operation.

As soon as she was nine years old, Marshall said she signed up for 4-H and began showing her own calves. Between the ages of nine and 18, Marshall sold her steers each year and saved the profits to purchase more animals, but also to begin her college fund.

“It makes me take my education even more serious because its money I worked hard for to pay for college,” Marshall said.

Marshall said the tuition increases make her very nervous each year, but coming from a family of Kansas State alumni, Marshall said her parents are always there to step in and make sure she can afford to finish out her education and join them as alumni.

From the small town of Lancaster, Kansas, Scholz said her family has been farming ever since they came to America from Germany, growing soybeans and corn-row crops. Aided by her family and experience in 4-H, Scholz started her own cow/calf operation.

Scholz said the uncertainty of the agriculture economy has not affected her very much.

“My parents taught me young that it is important to save my pennies so that one day the pennies will turn into dollars to pay for college,” Scholz said.

Because of this mindset, Scholz has had money saved up for college since she was a little girl. Her intent was to invest in her education so that if the economy did hurt, it would not affect her abilities to pay off college.

Because she grew up in the agriculture industry, Scholz said she has an endless passion for it. She said all the scholarships she has received from the industry keep her motivated to pursue an education, no matter how expensive it may be.

“The opportunities are endless because of the family atmosphere within the agriculture industry,” Scholz said.

Scholz said agriculture has taught her how to be strong in her faith, enhanced her responsibility and work ethic, and has taught her how to give absolutely nothing but her best because anything less is not acceptable.

“On the farm, good crops and cattle cannot be profitable without those three pieces,” Scholz said.