For the Love of Agriculture

KristiAnn Frank’s love of agriculture started at age 6. That’s when her older brother began raising pigs as part of his involvement in Future Farmers of America. For her, it was a seminal moment. She loved taking care of pigs that they raised in the field behind their home in Vernon Center, N.Y. “It was hard work, but I really didn’t see it that way,” she says. Later, she continued what her brother started, by raising pigs through high school during her own involvement with FFA.

Now, KristiAnn is on the path toward sharing her love of agriculture with future generations. She’s a senior at SUNY-Cobleskill, in Cobleskill, N.Y., completing her degree in Agricultural Business in just three years. To help her with that goal, she has received a scholarship from the Equipment Dealers Foundation, which is also matched by White’s Farm Supply, where KristiAnn has worked over the past several years. “I’m very honored to receive this scholarship,” she says. “I love that it helps young leaders and agriculturists keep moving the industry forward.”

She says that her work at White’s Farm Supply during summers and school breaks has allowed her to see how a local agricultural business is able to support and assist customers, while fostering those relationships long term—and remaining profitable. She helped out in accounts payable and receivable, and says she’ll most likely work in the parts department during her next break, giving her an ever-broadening view of the business.

KristiAnn also likes that White’s is family run. “It’s really cool that it’s a family-owned business and that the current owners are carrying on the tradition,” she says. “It shows how home-pride agriculture can shine through and provide service to surrounding communities.”

Teaching the Next Generation

In order to obtain her Bachelor of Technology degree next spring, KristiAnn has to complete an internship. She’s currently a teaching intern in the ag department of Cobleskill-Richmondville High School. The COVID-19 pandemic has, of course, changed how education is being delivered this fall, so she is teaching virtually right now. But she says she’s still enjoying the challenge.

The makeup of her class proves that agriculture has a broad and diverse base of young people who are interested in this life. Her students range from ninth and 10th graders, including some with special needs, to some juniors and seniors who are working on gaining college credit for their work. Being remote, coupled with a wide range of students, makes for a challenging environment, but one that KristiAnn is up for: “I’ve learned that you have to plan early and know that things won’t always go as planned.”

As for the future, KristiAnn’s goal is to have her own classroom in a high-school ag department. Because she’d like to stay in New York, she’ll need a Master’s degree to teach. Her next step, then, is to pursue her grad degree with an emphasis on agricultural education and leadership. The bottom line is that KristiAnn saw the passion her family had for the agricultural way of life, and she wants to continue that legacy. “Agriculture allows you to appreciate what you’ve given and to work hard every day,” she says.

About the Scholarship

The Equipment Dealers Foundation (EDF) was established in 1988 to provide scholarship funding to help meet the industry’s needs for trained individuals. Since then, the EDF has continued to focus on workforce development initiatives that benefit our industry. Most recently it launched Technicians for Tomorrow, an awareness campaign designed to educate parents and teachers about the benefits of a career as an equipment technician for their children and students. EDF also provides temporary assistance for dealerships and its employees affected by natural disasters. Learn more about EDF here.