“With my roots grounded in a small farm community in southwest Nebraska, I am driven by a passion to serve rural America,” said Brooke Ballou, a Wilsonville, Neb., native studying Agribusiness and Marketing at Hastings College. “I’ve chosen to invest my future in a farming lifestyle that has been so rewarding to my family.”
To get experience in her chosen field, Brooke interned with Farm Credit Services of America (FCSAmerica), a company providing agricultural credit, risk management and financial needs of farmers and ranchers in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.
“By observing the company and its incredible leaders, I've learned new leadership tactics as well as how to be a valuable teammate in the professional world,” she said. “This internship has provided me with ample opportunities to network with numerous professionals well-versed in the field of agribusiness. I've also become more familiar with the structure of corporate communication, which will be very beneficial as I transition into the career world.”
Creating a new social media strategy, representing FCSAmerica at farm and trade shows, including the World Pork Expo, writing press releases and conducting website audits — all building on what Brooke learned in her Hastings College classes. She also recognizes how her activities at Hastings, including participating in the student-run news show and the student government, have prepared her for the professional world.
“Balancing several extracurricular activities while working hard in the classroom probably best prepared me for this internship because it's given me the confidence to manage a larger workload,” she said. “Throughout the internship, I've been given numerous projects to complete, so organization skills have been critical.”
Through her experience with FCSAmerica, Brooke confirmed she’s selected a career path well-suited to her interests and talents.
“While my specific future plans are undecided, I do plan to attend graduate school in the area of agribusiness/agricultural economics,” she said. “If the door opens, I'm not opposed to receiving my Ph.D. and teaching agribusiness marketing at the collegiate level.”