Building his own degree

Agriculture program allowed Chase Monte to combine his interest areas into one degree.

Agriculture program allowed Chase Monte to combine his interest areas into one degree.

The agriculture degree program in the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) allows students to create their own unique college experience. Students tailor a course of study to their interests, choosing concentration areas from CAFNR’s other degree programs.

That opportunity was exactly what Chase Monte was looking for when he arrived at MU.

“Essentially, I got to build my own degree,” Monte said. “I really enjoyed getting to choose multiple programs that matched my interests.”

Monte chose agricultural systems technology, agribusiness management and plant sciences as his three focus areas. He graduated in May with his agriculture degree.

“I’m really thankful that I had the opportunity to be take courses in each of those program areas,” Monte said. “I use all of what I learned in my current job.”

Monte actually began his full-time job during his final semester at Mizzou. He was hired as an assistant store manager at a Sydenstricker Nobbe Partners (SNPartners) in Rocheport, Mo., in February. SNPartners is a John Deere dealership that serves multiple counties in Missouri and Illinois.

In that role, Monte has worn many different hats with the company. He added that after nearly a year with the company, he will move into a new role at the beginning of 2022. That role will be more focused on the earthmoving industry.

“I’ve learned a ton in this role,” Monte said. “I’ve been able to interact with customers on a daily basis, as well as get experience related to parts, sales and services. I’m also very excited to move into a new role and expand on what I’ve learned.”

Monte grew up on his family’s farm in Mexico, Mo. He was highly involved in the school’s FFA chapter, serving as president of the chapter during his senior year.

Monte was very familiar with the University of Missouri before arriving as a student.

“As a kid, my family and I would go to numerous Mizzou football and basketball games,” Monte said. “Coming to Mizzou was a natural fit.”

Monte said he enjoyed each of his three programs areas – especially his work with the agricultural systems technology degree program.

“CAFNR students in that program are really fortunate, as the faculty do such a great job of keeping up with modern technology,” Monte said. “It really gives students an edge when they enter the workforce.”

Monte took part in the Germany study abroad program, led by Leon Schumacher, professor in the Division of Plant Science and Technology and agricultural systems technology program coordinator. In addition to gaining an understanding of German agricultural engineering practices, program participants receive insight into German economic, political and educational systems, as well as basic German language training.

“The faculty were so great, including Dr. Schumacher,” Monte said. “I was able to get a lot of 1-on-1 time with all of my professors, which was very important as I got further into my agriculture degree program. They cared about my success – and they cared about me as a person.”

Monte was part of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and also served on the Mizzou Homecoming Steering Committee during his time in Columbia.

“Each of my experiences at Mizzou and in CAFNR were extremely valuable,” Monte said. “My time there really prepared me for my future.”

The CAFNR Career Services office recognizes career development as a lifelong process and is committed to helping students think about their future and work to make that future a reality. CAFNR has been incredibly successful in that regard as 99.2 percent of CAFNR graduates report a successful career outcome, such as employment, continuing education or military service, within six months of graduation. Also, 85 percent of CAFNR students are employed in a field directly related to their degree program after graduation.