The World Food Prize Foundation

The Borlaug Blog

If Only We Take A Chance

By Erica Baier

If you had asked me my freshmen year of high school what my future plans were, I would have confidently responded, “I want to become a Division I Track and Field athlete.” Ambitious, right? Maybe it’s just me, but I believe that some of our biggest goals and dreams are flipped upside down with such purpose, even if we may not understand the purpose in the moment. In the multiple moments where it became clear that track and field may not be the future I dreamt of after all, I couldn’t be more grateful. In fact, it was the Iowa Youth Institute and The Global Youth Institute that helped me to re-define my future into something even more powerful and more impactful for years to come.

My sophomore and junior year of high school, I became extremely involved in the National FFA Organization. With that being said, I quickly began to realize that agriculture was much more than my family’s small garden of sweetcorn and pumpkins and our cow/calf operation. Agriculture was global, and the Iowa Youth Institute made that so much more of a tangible reality. I recall beginning the research of Somalia, Africa on the sofa in my living room, where I quickly discovered that my idea of agriculture was pretty picturesque. Between civil wars, droughts, disease and more, it quickly seemed as if the country I had picked could solve several problems if they imported food. Then I looked closer, and there were government problems and trade regulations that negated that idea. I felt like there was a road block on almost every idea I came up with to help with food security and health in the country. Then again, there are road blocks that come up with any idea. However, what would be even worse is if somebody would’ve never taken the time to break through those barriers.

While at the Iowa Youth Institute, I recall listening to Jo Luck speak about Heifer International, and her aspirations for each one of us. She was over 80 years old at the time and was still ready for her next hunger-fighting adventure. Hearing her speak with such passion made me realize that age has nothing to do with our ability to pursue something that we are passionate about. In my roundtable discussion with multiple Iowa State University professors, the confidence I built from sharing the story of my country and my ideas revolving around aiding that country have undoubtedly transferred into what I’m doing today while serving the National FFA Organization.

While I’m sure I would have been proud to say, “I’m a collegiate track athlete” had that worked out, I know for a fact that I’m even more excited to say that I am an agriculturalist who is helping feed and clothe our world. Walter S. Newman had one idea, which transferred into the National FFA Organization and nearly 100 years later, serves over 653,000 FFA members. Norman Borlaug had one idea that lead to feeding over 1,000,000,000 people and growing. Temple Grandin single-handily created some of the safest and most effective livestock processing techniques. All amazing individuals with unique stories and backgrounds, but one thing in common… they were each one person with one idea. So, it’s your turn to fill in the blanks, and it starts with this. My name is _______, and _______ is my idea to help impact our world. 

02/12/2018 8:00 AM |Add a comment
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