By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo
Sometimes the best way to learn is to teach.
Whether they realize it or not, GrowNextGen ambassadors learn quite a bit as they help implement ag-based curriculum into activities for students around Ohio during the summer months, including fairs and specific GrowNextGen events. Former GrowNextGen ambassador Micah Mensing said the experience served him well in his current role as a customer education manager for Farm Credit Mid-America, which he started in 2019.
“The GrowNextGen program really started as this idea of being able to take curriculum and be able to share it through educational programs for folks that have never seen a soybean grow out in the field. We teach the many different uses of the commodity and put faces behind the commodity as well by educating about farmers,” Mensing said. “The Ohio Soybean Council provided some great training to me and I have a background growing up on a family farm with my grandpa. With me having that passion and then the Soybean Council teaching me more of the technical skill side of what the commodity could be used for, I was able to go out and share that story with as many folks as I could.”
In his role as a GrowNextGen ambassador, Mensing had to explain complex science and agricultural value chains in simple terms audiences (from elementary students to adults) could easily grasp.
“When I think about how this program has really made an impact on me in my career right now, it is the idea that I deal with complex topics with farm financials at Farm Credit Mid-America,” Mensing said. “The idea of taking a soybean and turning it into biofuel is a complex topic, but GrowNextGen taught me how to take that really complex idea, break it down to be simple and explain it to somebody in a way that they can comprehend, no matter their level of understanding.”
GrowNextGen ambassadors, through teaching others, set the stage for building their own careers in agriculture.
“It was such an honor to connect with the Ohio Soybean Council,” Mensing said. “Being able to partner with them and go out and provide classroom education or curriculum to teachers about careers in agriculture, you can see that there’s really a fit for anybody that wants to work in this industry. And if we can get the word out, it will make a big impact on agriculture.”
The GrowNextGen program is funded by Ohio soybean farmers and their checkoff.