Mike Hannewald graduated from our Horticulture and Crop Science Department in 2014, he majored in Sustainable Plant Systems with a specialization in Agronomy. He’s spent the last 8 years since graduating working at Beck’s Hybrids here in Ohio, currently as a Field Agronomist.
This past January Mike won the 2022 Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Agricultural Professionals Discussion Meet.
Luckily, he had some time to tell us a bit more about his experience in the competition, update us on how his career is going, plus share some great advice for any current or potential HCS students!
How did you become involved with the American Farm Bureau?
He’s been involved since college, where he was an active member of the collegiate version. Post-graduation he stayed involved with the Farm Bureau by joining the Lucas County Farm Bureau – where he spends time advocating and lobbying to promote agriculture as well as planning events and activities for the county.
Tell us about the Ohio Farm Bureau’s Young Agricultural Professionals Discussion Meet
Mike successfully completed a series of applications & interviews to be chosen as one of the four finalists for the statewide competition.
"This is a unique contest as it’s not a traditional debate but rather a group discussion where [the four finalists] have to work together while each putting our best foot forward” to reach a conclusion to an agricultural related scenario. Mike told us this years competition centered around “policies the Farm Bureau could put in place to ensure the negative impacts of covid on the meat packaging chain are not repeated in the future”. Each finalist was given time to present an opening statement and a closing statement following the 25-minute open discussion. Mike said he really enjoyed getting to be part of “such a fun competition post-graduation.”
As the winner of the state competition, Mike Hannewald will go on to represent Ohio at the National Farm Bureau’s Young Agricultural Professionals Discussion Meet that will be hosted in Puerto Rico in January 2023. He’s most excited about getting to “meet people from all over the country" that he knows "will have at least one similar interest”.
We wish him the best of luck as he prepares for this next event!
What got you interested in this industry to begin with?
Mike is a second-generation farmer – his Dad began farming around 1000 acres of crops in 1990. He knew from a young age that he liked crop farming and as soon as he learned “agronomy is the science behind farming” he knew that was what he wanted to go to school for. Mikes ultimate career ambition is to one day be able to run his family’s farm.
How did you pick what career you wanted to go into post college?
During Mikes time here in HCS he was able to participate in 2 separate internships which he credits with solidify his post-graduation career interests. The summer between his Sophomore & Junior year he “landed a sales role at Beck’s Hybrids while [he] enjoyed the company & people there [he] just didn’t love sales"; so the next summer he decided to intern at a different company that was able to offer him an Agronomy focused role.
Shortly before graduation Beck’s Hybrids offered Mike a role in Precision Agriculture which he happily accepted and he's been with the company ever since.
How did your time at HCS prepare you for your career?
“OSU gave me the baseline knowledge to get ready & prepared to be a lifelong learner on the job.” Overall, his time at HCS gave him a “great foundation to build success on – I’d like to thank all the professors & advisors here at OSU that helped me get to be where I’m at today - doing what I enjoy helping farmers.”
What advice would you give to potential students looking to get into this field?
“Try out as much as possible – whether that be classes, internships, or networking opportunities. The two very different internships I participated in allowed me to try out jobs and leave with no strings attached while remaining on good terms with all the new people I was able to meet in the Agricultural community along the way. I’d also recommend trying out a wide variety of classes - college is a great unique opportunity to try new things.”