We’re in the homestretch of our 30 day series, Faces Behind Your Food, and have highlighted a bunch of interesting people. From truck drivers and ag lenders, to farmers, seed dealers, farm bureau managers and everything in between, all of these folks either decided to stay involved in agriculture, or follow a career path into agriculture. And in many cases, they made those choices because of ag teachers just like my friend, DeAnna Thomas.
DeAnna is a first year agriculture education teacher at Midwest Central High School in Manito, Ill., and is on the front line of helping future consumers gain an understanding of where their food comes from.
“Every day I strive to teach students the importance of agriculture through engaging, hands-on learning,” DeAnna said. “It is challenging, yet very rewarding. Although Manito is a small, rural community, a majority of the students I teach do not live on a farm. It is my hope after taking an ag class, my students have a thorough knowledge of where their food comes from and how it gets from family farms to their dinner forks.”
To say DeAnna has had an interesting career path is an understatement. In fact, DeAnna has truly done it all when it comes to agriculture communications, from starting her career as a farm broadcaster, to working as a marketing representative for a seed company. Oh, and she also works as a farm wife to her husband, Braden, helping out on their farm in the Spring Lake bottoms, where they farm commercial corn and soybeans and also raise popcorn, green beans and peas.
“My career path has been full of unique and remarkable opportunities,” DeAnna said. “I have had the opportunity to serve the public and agriculture community as a local farm broadcaster, serve farmers as a marketing coordinator for a seed company, and now, I’m serving my community and future generations as an agriculture education teacher.”
Even after all of that, DeAnna says her role in each job is pretty much the same — answering questions and making sure consumers, even future ones, know exactly where their food comes from.
“It is my hope that the students who leave my classroom know and understand the importance of the work farmers do each and every day to ensure there is enough food for people all over the world to eat,” DeAnna said. “I always used to close out my broadcasts saying, ‘Agriculture is more than food, feed, and fuel, it is the foundation of our future.’ At the end of each day, it is my hope I have done all I can to teach my students that.
“I really believe the biggest threat facing agriculture is the lack of agriculture education,” DeAnna added. “So many people today take the food that is in their cabinets for granted. Whether it was in my former role as an agriculture communicator or in my current role as an agriculture educator, I truly feel a sense of responsibility to inform the general public about the importance of agriculture. The impact it has on Mason County, the state of Illinois, the USA, even the world, is immense and needs to be shared with as many people as possible.”
Don’t forget to check out all the awesome blogs happening this month over at Prairie Farmer.
For the full Faces Behind Your Food Series, check out the links below:
- Intro: 30 Days
- Day 1: Managing…everything
- Day 2: Building Relationships
- Day 3: 50/50
- Day 4: Irons in the Fire
- Day 5: Loaded Up and Trucking
- Day 6: Variety is the Spice of Life
- Day 7: Beef. It’s what’s for dinner.
- Day 8: You have got to start somewhere.
- Day 9: The earth that calls me.
- Day 10: Teaching changes the way I look at things at home.
- Day 11: A Family Affair
- Day 12: Diversification.
- Day 13: Bigger is Better
- Day 14: Working for the Weekend
- Day 15: Three Generations of Pauling Brothers
- Day 16: “Quality and consistency is what makes us great.”
- Day 17: Community Supported Agriculture
- Day 18: “We wouldn’t sell something to our customers that we wouldn’t eat ourselves.”
- Day 19: The kitchen table is still the board room.
- Day 20: It all starts with a seed.
- Day 21: 24/7
- Day 22: Heart and Soul