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Woman in Ag Network's June Feature

By Megan Roberts and Sarah Schieck, Extension Educators

Our June 2019 "Woman in Ag" feature is Kristi Oberdieck. Kristi has been involved in farming all her life and chose to pursue a career in agriculture. Kristi shares her perspectives below as a young professional starting her career in agriculture.

WAGN: Tell us a little about your background and career.
Kristi Oberdieck

Kristi: I was raised on a crop and hog farm just northeast of Truman, MN. As a kid I never thought that agriculture was the career that I would have a passion for. I hated the busy spring and fall because it didn’t leave time for other activities. It wasn’t until I was 16 that my interest in the field began to grow. I attended South Central College in Mankato and received my associate degree in Agribusiness Service and Management with an Agronomy emphasis. 

I am currently working at Anez Consulting in Willmar, MN as an Ag Nutrient Technician. My main responsibility is in CSP (Conservation Stewardship Program) consulting. In this position I assist producers in understanding, executing and complying with conservation enhancements that they have signed up for in their CSP contract. At Anez, I also write nutrient and pest management plans for CSP contract holders, work with industrial compliance and permitting, and complete manure management plans and manure nutrient recommendations.

WAGN: As an early-career professional, do you have any advice for other young women pursuing a career in agriculture?
Kristi: Do not be afraid to ask questions. If you never ask questions, you never really learn. Take opportunities to learn at conferences and from local producers about different operations, farming techniques, and technology. You may be very educated about a specific topic but being able to understand the big picture and all the pieces that go into it will help you to advance in your career.

WAGN: Why do you enjoy working in agriculture?

Kristi: I enjoy working in agriculture because I am always learning, and I have a passion for what we do in agriculture. I learn every day from my clients by listening to their past experiences. All the pieces of the big picture start forming together like a puzzle, and you can see the science behind how it all works. I have always had a passion for helping people. In agriculture, I am responsible for helping producers feed the world and be good stewards of the land.

WAGN: What are some professional goals you are working on right now?
Kristi: In the future, I hope to continue improving my knowledge and skills in manure management and permitting regulations. I also plan to work toward becoming a technical service provider (TSP). This would certify me to sign off on the planning and design of NRCS required conservation plans.

WAGN: Anything else you'd like to share?
Kristi: There are many misconceptions about the field we work in. Be willing to discuss agriculture with people. I am marring into a family dairy farm near Willmar, and we have started a Facebook page to show people what we do on the farm. Today’s generations are terribly disconnected from the farm. Be open to sharing your story.

Thanks Kristi for sharing your story with WAGN for this month’s “Woman in Ag” feature. To learn more about WAGN visit z.umn.edu/WAGN.

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