Future Farmer of America forges a community in Minnesota
Transitioning to college is easier with a community. For Kegan Zimmermann, Minnesota Future Farmers of America (MN FFA) made all the difference.
As vice president of MN FFA, Zimmermann chose to come to the University of
Minnesota partly because of the network he developed in high school. Through the association, students learn hands-on skills in agriculture.
“The thing that I fell in love with, and why I got so involved with it, was because of the community aspect,” Zimmermann said. He is also a member of the FarmHouse fraternity on the St. Paul campus and the CFANS student board.
Zimmermann, who grew up on a corn and soybean farm in the small town of Lamberton in southwestern Minnesota, said he never had the desire to work on the farm itself.
But through FFA, he learned he could pursue agriculture through different means. Through government relations and lobbying, he helped farmers by working on policy and law. He is currently studying applied economics and political science at the university.
His involvement with MN FFA is not a minor commitment. He travels constantly, often on weekends, and sometimes has to skip classes to attend events or visit other chapters, he said.
“My academic advisors compare it to being a student athlete, but not getting any of the help student athletes get with classes,” Zimmermann said. “It takes a lot of time and energy.”
As Zimmermann sees it, the Twin Cities campus was a good place for him to get an education—particularly on the St. Paul campus, where someone from a rural or agriculture background can find a strong community.
“Some places are more accepting of those kinds of backgrounds, and some are not,” he noted.