HCS Alumni Spotlight: Nathan Miller

Aug. 5, 2022
Nathan Miller (left) smiling next to his business partner

Meet Nathan Miller | HCS Alumni Class of 2010 & 2011

Nathan's a double alumnus of HCS he received his BS (2010) in Crop Science & his MS (2011) in Weed Science. Today, Nathan works in Agriculture at Miller Grain!

Thankfully, he had a few minutes to share with us a bit about his time here at HCS, what an average day in his career looks like + some timely advice for students considering graduate school:

How did you become interested in ag?

My family has been involved in agriculture in Fayette County since 1967 so you could say that it's been in my blood. I decided to make this into a career through my experience with my high school FFA. I participated in contests and projects that revolved around agronomy, public speaking, and agriculture business planning. This lead to seeking further education from Ohio State and eventually into a full time career in production agriculture.

Tell us a bit about your current ROle

I am the agronomist and field planner for my operation. While I do not solely make every decision in our partnership, almost every agronomic operation crosses my desk and I am involved in the planning, procurement, and placement of products and trials. I also provide year-end reviews to the partnership to show what we learned and how we can use that information for the following year.

What's a normal day look like for you?

It's pretty seasonal really, but most days I start at my computer checking emails, reading news, or looking at the weather. I do a lot of reading/research in the winter months as I evaluate products for the coming year. Spring months I am usually spraying sun up till midnight, depending on application time. Summers are spent scouting fields for disease, weed pressure, potential trouble spots. I also attend a lot of field days furthering my education and awareness of what's coming next in Agriculture. Fall I spend in the combine, getting a first hand look at how varieties perform and spreading fertilizer in preparation for the following season. All while still performing typical farm hand duties of bin cleaning, some grain hauling, machinery maintenance, etc.

What is your favorite part of your career?

I think it's the chaos honestly. I enjoy the idea of seasonal jobs, something different every day. My favorite times of year are when we're all busy, running in different directions just to get the job done. I really enjoy being outside and working with my hands and with my co-workers.

How did your time at HCS help prepare you for your career?

My time at HCS provided a wealth of opportunity for networking as well as education. The friends and contacts made in college have been a great professional resource. The classes I took and the professors I had challenged my way of thinking about agriculture and have provided me the knowledge and experience to have conversations with agriculture professionals and sales people alike. I am a much more rounded individual because of my time at Ohio State.

What's the rough career path that brought you to where you are today

I grew up like many farm kids; operating machinery after school, spending summers bailing straw or mixing chemicals, learning the ins-and-outs of the operation. I got my first taste of agronomy in the 8th grade as I participated in FFA events and fell in love with the science and the challenge of producing better crops. I furthered my education at Ohio State, ultimately with a Masters in Weed Science, and continue to pursue best management practices.

Any advice for students looking for their first job out of college?

Learn as much as you can! Even if it's not your forever job, or even in the field you expected, you can learn a lot from your employer and co-workers that will be an asset down the road. In the agriculture business, who you know is just as important as what you know so make those contacts and learn some new skills before settling in to a career.

Any advice for students considering graduate school?

Graduate school is another great way to make some contacts. I had the privilege of going to classes and conferences with people who ended up working in many facets of the agriculture industry. Not everyone in graduate school moves on to a doctorate or work in research. I always told myself if I didn't do graduate school now, I'd likely never go back so take the opportunity if one arises.

Closing Thought

I believe that the future of agriculture is bright but shifting. I'm encouraged to see young people enter the agriculture field full of ideas and excited to see where this industry will lead in the next 10 years!