By Elijah Olomoniyi
It’s a question I get a lot – “What brought you to agriculture?” It was an entirely accidental but perfect match that I could have never predicted.
Growing up on the northwest side of Chicago, I was never exposed to the world of agriculture. In fact, I knew next to nothing about it. That all changed when I was applying for colleges my senior year of high school and had my sights set on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At that point, the one thing I was sure of was that I wanted to be a lawyer more than anything else; so when I went to declare my undergraduate major, I chose the closest option to pre-law: public policy and law.
I didn’t know it at the time, but soon found out that “public policy and law” was a major taught within the school of agriculture and could be better described as agricultural policy and law. After making this important realization and already knowing I had no prior interest in agriculture, I intended to transfer majors. Before I could, though, I decided to take a class based on agricultural policy that finished with a spring break trip to Washington, D.C. Throughout this class I met with many important figures in the world of agriculture and was exposed to the amazing future that could be mine if I decided to stick with it. This experience is what convinced me that agriculture is the field I want to be a part of and help shape in the future.
Getting the opportunity to work with NACD is helping me realize the dream that was first proposed to me over a year ago. Being surrounded by people truly invested in the work of agricultural conservation will help to solidify in my mind that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.