by Kiley McConnell, Wyoming FFA Reporter
So what does the industry itself feel about agriculture education and it’s role in the future of agriculture? Hear what one Wyoming producer has to say!
Timmery (Pokorny) Hellyer is a rancher located just outside of Lander, Wyoming. She moved to a ranch near Lander when she was 13 and grew up ranching. She joined FFA as soon as she could in high school, and quickly grew a passion for both. She participated and competed in FFA, and when she was a senior she ran for a state office. She served as the Wyoming State FFA Secretary in 1996-1997. Hellyer earned the opportunity to work multiple different internships across the globe, before ultimately coming back home to their family ranch.
Hellyer believes that as ag producers, it is our job to help consumers understand the agriculture industry. Since consumers are so far removed and have little to no experience in the food and fiber industry, it is crucial that producers keep them educated. Hellyer considers her role as an agriculture educator “very informal”. Any opportunity that she gets to visit with people about agriculture she will take. Along with her daily advocacy, she is also an ex-officio member of the Wyoming Beef Council where she also aims to educate the public.
“Everyone eats” Hellyer said, but few of these people know what food production looks like. With so many organizations that want to paint agriculture with an ugly brush, Hellyer believes it is extremely important for agriculturalists to keep people informed on what the industry really is. She has noticed that in some aspects of the food and fiber industry, the more specific industries often forget the fact that one of the best places to share information is through the Agriculture Classroom.
Hellyer credits her ag teacher, Mike McConnell, for encouraging her in her FFA experience. “He was the motivator behind running for a state office, and all of my CDEs”.
FFA was one of the main reasons why Hellyer found her passion in ranching and in agriculture. She wants to ensure the future of agriculture, and agriculture education. As Hellyer says, “Agriculture is a component of food production, conservation, and healthy rural communities and economies.”
This industry needs to be advocated for and people need educated.