Melissa Duncan - 2011 Winning Essay

Melissa Duncan

I am currently studying in the Farm Management and Technology program at McGill University, Macdonald Campus. Afterwards, I plan to major in Agro-Environmental Sciences, specializing in Animal Production. It is my dream to become an agronomist, and continue to work alongside farmers.

I come from a dairy farm, and agriculture has become my passion. I joined 4-H at a young age, and it has broadened my views of farming. For ten years I have shown dairy heifers in competition and learned to judge various livestock, feed and crops. My confidence, leadership and organization have improved with my years on the club executive, and I have learned much through farm tours and visiting with producers myself. I have already job shadowed a local agronomist and I enjoyed the experience immensely.

As a woman, I have found it intimidating to seek a career where men still dominate. However, through my current program and working on my home farm, I am learning the managerial skills needed to run these operations. I hope to qualify for the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge this fall, where I will further my experience in analyzing the efficiency of dairies.

Farming does not net a large income and my parents cannot support the entirety of my studies. I’ll be working on my home farm for another year, and then I plan to get summer jobs assisting local agronomists to finance my university studies. As a farmer’s daughter and 4-H member, I have already made vital connections.