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Advancing Access to Agriculture Careers

Kyla Peer grew up in a farming family near Little Rock, Arkansas. However, she didn’t think of agriculture as a career choice and planned to study finance in college. But a scholarship from the United States Department of Agriculture changed her plans and she enrolled at Prairie View A&M University as an agribusiness major.

In her sophomore year, she found Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) at a school career fair.

“I quickly realized the development and learning opportunities they offered were something I could put in my back pocket to help with my future career,” said Peer. “Once I joined MANRRS, I knew I’d found my passion and looked forward to getting more involved.”

Peer became a leader with MANRRS and attended the 2022 MANRRS conference during her senior year.

“Our school’s career fairs didn’t really highlight opportunities in agriculture, but the MANRRS conference brings together hundreds of organizations looking for agriculture students and opens up so many doors and opportunities,” she said.

She interviewed with Nationwide at the conference and made a strong impression. In July 2022, she was hired as a farm underwriter, serving farm-focused insurance agencies across Texas.

Driving the industry forward
Agriculture and natural resources are vital to our society, but the industries face great challenges with bringing in young talent to replace an aging workforce. Minorities also face high barriers to entry due to limited access and funding.

To address these hurdles, Nationwide teamed up with MANRRS to help build skills in the next generation of ag leaders. MANRRS offers a detailed training program, the MANRRS Professional Development Institute, to provide participants with a good understanding of the industry and the skills needed for success.

“Nationwide has long supported agriculture education with programs like the Golden Owl Award® and our partnership with the National 4-H Council,” said Brad Liggett, president of Nationwide Agribusiness. “This alliance with MANRRS takes that commitment to a new level and marks our largest investment in a student ag organization.”

Sponsoring the next generation
As a sponsor of MANRRS, Nationwide is helping to create a long-term plan to develop and recruit the next generation of diverse leaders and serve as a welcoming employer as they enter the workforce.

“Sponsorship support allows MANRRS to continue to grow our footprint across the agriculture world,” said Dr. Marcus Bernard, president of MANNRS. “We are grateful for the many sponsors we have and appreciate when they turn into true partners, like Nationwide has. Partnerships provide for a greater impact and help us tell our story and continue to move MANRRS forward.”

Peer was excited to attend the 2023 MANRRS conference this year, this time as a Nationwide associate and MANNRS graduate. She spoke at the event about the insurance industry and internship opportunities.

“If you would’ve told me a year ago I’d be in insurance, I probably would’ve been shocked, but I think everything happens for a reason,” she said. “Nationwide has been like a family for me. Everybody has taken me in and I couldn’t ask for a better employer to start my career with. I hope to go far into the distance with Nationwide.”

Visit the Ag Insight Center to learn more about how MANRRS is helping drive the agriculture industry forward.