Connor Ruen of Lanesboro, MN
In decribing his educational focus, here is what he wrote:
“I am majoring in agronomy with minors in soil science, crop protection, and horticulture. I have become more interested this past year in the soil science side of agronomy which is why I chose to work with cover crops in the master's program this coming summer. Being from the driftless area of Minnesota, I have seen what only an inch of rain can erode from a bare soil field in just one afternoon when it took hundreds if not thousands of years to form that soil. I believe that if we want to continue to feed the world with the land we have, we need to be more sustainable in our farming practices to conserve the soil and nutrients that are present. I drive almost the entire stretch of Interstate-90 in Minnesota and see the dark brown snow from the soil that was blown from fields into the road ditches. Because of these reasons, I think it is important to focus my education on learning how to control wind and water erosion to preserve our natural resources. Because of my minors in soil science, crop protection, and horticulture, I have learned valuable information on the importance of integrated pest management, crop rotation, and the use of perennial plants to manage a healthy agroecosystem.”
Asked about his future plans, he wrote:
This summer, I will start working on my master's at South Dakota State University and begin my project that will study the effects of living munch systems on the yield of vegetable crops. I am very excited about this project since I will get to learn about the possible integration of a system that has roots in the ground year- round to control erosion while being able to taste the fruits of my labor. I will also be working with local farmers to try similar practices to see what works on their farms and how I can advise farmers in the future. Once I finish my master's degree, I hope to continue in research of soil science. If I don't become a researcher likely look for a job involving consulting with farmers as an agronomist and helping them manage their land using sustainable practices to become more profitable. I will am hoping to move back to the Rochester area after I am done with school, so I hope to bring the knowledge I have gained from school and put it into practice in my local area. Paul Harvey said, "man - despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication, and his many accomplishments - owes his existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains." This quote represents the responsibility we need to take to manage our natural resources so they will be there for future generations to come.