When Wes Bradshaw made the decision to attend the University of Missouri, he was in search of a degree program that would be the most helpful to him as he returned to the family farm after graduation.
Bradshaw’s family has farmed for generations, and he wanted to make sure his education at Mizzou would allow him to build on his farming legacy.
Bradshaw settled on the agricultural systems technology (AST) degree program, as he said he felt like the program would prepare him to adapt to technologies being introduced in agriculture.
“Growing up on a farm, I’ve always been interested in the technical side of the equipment, as well as the technical side of farming in general,” Bradshaw said. “My plan from the moment I stepped onto campus was to return to my family farm, and I really felt like the agricultural systems technology program would provide me the best education to do that as I adapt to farming in the future.”
Bradshaw grew up in Pike County, Illinois. He was very involved in his high school’s FFA chapter, eventually earning his state and American FFA degrees. He said he toured several colleges and chose Mizzou because of how those he talked with made him feel. Plus, he said he had a few cousins who graduated from MU, so he was fairly aware of what the campus life was like.
“Everyone was just so nice in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR),” Bradshaw said. “I felt like they really wanted me to be here. Each person I interacted with really cared that I was interested in pursuing a degree at Mizzou. Plus, once I learned how much CAFNR had to offer, I was sold.”
Bradshaw said the faculty within the agricultural systems technology degree program have been phenomenal to work with. He has also taken a few other CAFNR courses to get a well-rounded education to take back to the farm.
“My courses have been really enjoyable,” Bradshaw said. “The faculty within my degree program have been so helpful in many different ways. They’ve really helped guide me through any questions I had, plus they’re so approachable.
“All of the CAFNR courses I have taken have been great. I took quite a few agribusiness management classes that I think are going to be really valuable when I return to the farm.”
Bradshaw said one of the biggest benefits of the work he did in the agricultural systems technology program was that it was tied to real-life data.
“Our professors collected data and we would use that in our laboratory sessions,” Bradshaw said. “For example, they would grab data from a drone and we would bring that data back to create strategies or conduct analysis. It was a really great way to learn because we were working with information that came from a real-world setting.”
Bradshaw was a member of the AST Club and the College Republicans while at MU. He also participated in a study abroad experience last fall, traveling to Germany for an opportunity to learn more about German agriculture, food and culture. The Germany study abroad program offers participants an opportunity to visit multiple farms, farm equipment manufacturers, food production operations, research facilities, wineries and German cultural sites.
“That was definitely an eye-opening experience,” Bradshaw said. “I really enjoyed getting an idea of what farming looks like in a different country. We had the opportunity to tour several farms, see what the equipment looks like and just be out in the countryside. I was really glad that I was able to participate and gain knowledge about farming overseas.”
Bradshaw said as he heads toward graduation and his future, he appreciates all that CAFNR did for him to build on his farming experience. He’s excited to take that information back to his family farm.
“I’m excited to jump back into the farm life,” Bradshaw said. “I’ll be farming with my grandpa and my dad, and it’s going to be fun to bring what I learned to the operation. I’m really appreciative of what CAFNR taught me and for the faculty in the agricultural systems technology program, as they were very supportive throughout my entire time at MU.”