Amy Durand in Japan for the Toyota International Teacher Program.
Hello all! Fall is finally here and it has been so nice on campus! It feels good outside, the leaves are changing colors, and everyone has been renewed over fall break. I love to learn, but it is definitely good to have a break sometimes! This week I’d like to introduce you to another who loves to learn. Amy Durand of Minnesota uses her education to help farmers “achieve success through financial financing, crop insurance, consulting and education” at AgStar Financial Services, ACA, which is part of the Farm Credit System. Some of their activities include women’s seminars, outlook meetings, webinars, young/beginning farmer’s conference, and workshops.
A part of the 5th generation on the family farm, Amy’s education began as she pursued knowledge as her dad’s “shadow”. She also learned more through the 4-H and FFA programs. She was involved on the chapter, club, and state levels in many activities such as public speaking and parliamentary procedure. These programs provided exposure to agriculture education opportunities and life skills that still help her on a daily basis at AgStar.
Amy continued her education at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities where she earned her M.S. in Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Education. During one of her internships Amy discovered her desire to teach those who do not have a background in agriculture. She could see the “light in their faces” and how they were amazed by what they were learning. “It was literally like Hogwarts” for them, she said.
After graduation, Amy took the magic to a high school in Philadelphia, PA where she taught Equine Science and Animal Health and worked as the FFA Advisor. It was the largest FFA chapter in the country at the time. Her students showed her that you don’t have to come from a farm to be passionate about agriculture. They were enthusiastic about learning and were not afraid of the challenges she presented them from halter breaking calves to driving tractors. They truly wanted to know more about agriculture. A learner at heart, Amy wanted to learn more too.
She continued her education with the Toyota International Teacher Program in Japan learning about the country’s educational system, environment, culture and history and sharing information about American culture in schools there. She participated in the National FFA Delta Conference enhancing her methods for teaching leadership skills to youth as well as her personal leadership. Lastly, she returned to college at New Mexico State University to earn her Masters of Arts degree in Agriculture and Extension Education.
From the youth of the non-traditional agriculture program that she led to the children she influenced in Japan to the farmers seeking financial guidance at AgStar, Amy has been an agricultural learner, teacher, and leader throughout her endeavors. Her role has given me a new perspective of agribusiness. She employs the leadership and teaching skills that she has developed throughout her experiences in her workplace every day. I am also glad that Amy shared her love of learning with me. I get worried that my own love of learning may burn out. But now, I am more aware of the unique learning opportunities available for continuing my education.
Amy’s last words to me for this blog was that she hoped that what she does today will help women in agriculture in the future, including her own daughter. I believe her dedication to improving her learning, teaching, and leading has helped her to do just that. She is putting her best foot forward for the future of agriculture, and that’s what makes Amy Durand a woman for agriculture.