Audrey Hannah knew that she had multiple options when she chose to study at the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR). Hannah’s father is a farmer who also enjoys speculative trading, and Hannah said they spent a lot of time discussing both topics.
Hannah’s enjoyment of numbers, plus her enriching discussions with her father, led her to the agribusiness management degree program at Mizzou.
“My dad owned a business before switching to farming, so he was the same age as his farming peers but had half of the experience,” Hannah said. “He was eager and excited about everything, which was fun to see. I knew I liked working with numbers and even threw around the idea of being a math teacher; however, I realized I didn’t want to work in a school setting. The agribusiness management degree program seemed like a really good fit with my interests.”
Along with the opportunity to pursue an agribusiness management degree, Hannah, who is from central Illinois, said the MU campus also played a role in her enrollment. Hannah’s older sister also earned her master’s degree from MU.
“I visited my sister on a couple of occasions and just really liked campus when I was here,” Hannah said. “I was a little overwhelmed by my college choices initially, and she walked me over to the main Ag Building to get more information about the degrees. Once I saw how many options I would have, the decision to come here was very easy.”
Hannah said she was excited to know that the agribusiness management degree program would highlight tracks such as policy, management, and farm and ranch. The management path was of most interest to Hannah.
“I knew I was in the right spot immediately after taking a couple course with Martyn Foreman and Linda Sowers (both instructors of agricultural and applied economics),” Hannah said. “Being able to learn something I was interested in from the beginning was amazing.”
Hannah participated in a research project with Foreman as well, organizing datasets related to recent droughts in Missouri.
“That study was really interesting,” Hannah said. “There was a lot of data to dig through, and it was rewarding to be a part of such an important project.”
Hannah also gained hands-on learning opportunities through work with the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI). FAPRI, a CAFNR Program of Distinction, seeks to provide objective analysis of issues related to agricultural markets and policies. The program is best known for its projections for the farm economy.
“Policy is really interesting, and I’m glad I had this experience, but I did learn that this type of work may not be for me,” Hannah said. “The fun thing is that the professors I worked with in FAPRI are now teaching my upper-level courses, so it’s been neat to reconnect.”
Hannah is also part of the Salt Company, the college ministry of Anthem Church. She has led a small group, which she said allowed her to connect with students from across campus.
“Hearing from friends in other degree programs is really fun, as we get to compare what we’re all up to,” Hannah said. “It’s been great for me, too, because as you advance through your degree, your group gets a bit smaller. I enjoy having different groups that I can interact with.”
Hannah said she is excited for her next steps after graduation in May. She is interested in a few different career paths, including those related to merchandising or agronomy.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time at MU, and I’m eager for the future,” Hannah said. “I came into my time at Mizzou knowing what I cared about but not knowing exactly what I could do with that knowledge. It’s been great to learn about all of the opportunities afforded to me through the agribusiness management degree program.
“One of the most important things I’ve learned is to ask questions. The professors in CAFNR are so approachable, and it’s really important to put yourself out there, even if it’s a bit uncomfortable at first.”