CROOKSTON, Minn. - Ben Olander, Staples, Minn., and UMN Crookston sophomore, studying Agronomy says Ag is everywhere. “As a member of society I can’t help but notice Ag in everything I do,” says Olander.  He said to take a drive, log online and Ag comes into play in an article, within technology, and smartphones, Ag is transforming. “As far as I see, I come from Ag, I live Ag, I am passionate about Ag, I love Ag!” he said. 

Olander went on to say his passion for agriculture started at a young age. His father, Keith, is the Executive Director of AgCentric, and Agricultural Partnerships of Ag Centric, and while there were others involved, he instilled in him the enthusiasm and has assisted in uncovering the multitude of career opportunities. “By 2050 we will need to feed 10 billion people. It is incredible to see the technology, the ways that we as a society are still continuing to grow even in the midst of a pandemic,” Ben Olander said. 

At UMN Crookston, Olander said many of those opportunities are integrated into the curriculum. “To engage with Ag students and to provide them, us, with the tools and resources to go forward into a career, whether you have an interest in agronomy, ag business, or ag systems management an education in Ag can move you forward in the industry, Ag is vital to our society,” Olander said.

Olander said he sees it differently, but as an Ag Ed student, he sees it every day and is excited about what he is doing. “I love what I do and I am excited to be in a high-paying career, one that is competitive and will have an impact on the community and the entire world.” 

When asked about earning his degree, the workforce, and inspiration in general Olander said he felt like middle school and FFA  were two environments where he engaged early.  “We need to start educating youth at a younger age,” he said. He mentioned that you can make more of an impact and instill passions and interests in students early, particularly as students move through the middle to high school.

Ben Olander is a national finalist for proficiency in ag mechanics design and fabrication and on a team as a semi-finalist for ag communications at the 94th National FFA Convention and Expo. He will be competing on October 27, through the rest of the week in Indianapolis, Ind.

Story Contact: Shawn Smith