Ag Careers Spotlight: Commodity Education Director
It was obvious that Becky Kinder and the Kentucky Soybean Board were a great fit considering she interned with them three summers in a row. Becky became their full-time education director in 2004.
With her leadership experience in the Future Homemakers Association (now Family, Career and Community Leaders of America or FCCLA), Becky thought she might be interested in teaching family and consumer sciences or dietetics. She discovered in college however, that daily classroom teaching wasn’t really her calling. Thankfully, her farm background and time at Murray State University prepared her for a variety of career options within agriculture where education could still be a focus.
“Growing up in a rural community and helping on my grandparents’ farm helped me know the value of hard work,” Becky said. “I also worked in a veterinary office while in high school and college. By taking agriculture classes in high school and then later at Murray State, it gave me an understanding of agriculture. As with all industries it continues to grow and change over time with the advancements in technology. It is amazing what our farmers can do now that they were not able to do before.”
Becky’s primary education responsibilities include developing and presenting lessons about soybeans to students and working with teachers interested in teaching soybeans. She also manages the regional research program, serves on various committees and agriculture organizations, and performs general office duties. Working with a small staff, she shares time between the check-off funded Soybean Board and the farmer grassroots organization, the Kentucky Soybean Association.
When asked about skills or talents that help with her job, she said being flexible is very important. “Things don’t always go as planned, and you have to make the best of it.”
Becky’s advice for young adults searching for a career is to go and try new things and never rule anything out.
Regarding what she would have done differently, she said she thinks it would have been very valuable to know more about agriculture and how it affected her everyday life.
“Unfortunately, we don’t usually see a need for something until it’s gone or something truly bad happens. In my lifetime, I’ve never been truly hungry or not had access to healthy, safe foods like many other Americans.”
Agriculture amazes Becky every day, and she has a true passion for sharing agriculture’s impact with everyone she meets.
Kentucky is home to several commodity-based organizations: corn, beef, wheat, pork, poultry, dairy, tobacco, aquaculture, and many more. Each is charged with educating the public about their products and the practices the farmers use to produce these commodities. Several have internship opportunities in the summer or throughout the year. To learn about these opportunities and the different commodity organizations, visit www.kyfoodandfarm.com.