Next Gen Ag: Growing the future of ag through education

by | Feb 28, 2024

Next Gen Ag is a year long series that will run on our In The Field blog, Facebook page, Instagram page and Twitter account. Each Wednesday, we will highlight a young person pursuing a career in the agriculture industry. Individuals can be in high school, college, or recent graduates who are working to establish a career in agriculture. Stay tuned each week to meet some of our industry’s future leaders!

As a child, Destiny Wilson had some early experiences with agriculture that have stuck with her and shaped her into the young agricultural leader that she is today. With a passion for education and storytelling, Destiny has her sights set on a future that will shape and inspire the next generation of agriculture industry leaders.

In 2008 at just four years old, Destiny remembers shucking corn with her family on the tailgate of her dad’s farm truck in Elroy. “Shucking corn became a family tradition, especially on July 4th,” she said. “We had a large field across from our house that we shared with my aunt and uncle to grow corn, lima beans, and other vegetables. I would help my dad and two sisters shuck the corn while my mom and other sister cleaned it in the kitchen and cut it off the cob. It was an all-day affair, but we enjoyed delicious, creamed corn all year long because of it.” Destiny not only looks back fondly on the activity of corn shucking with her family, but also the conversations had throughout the day. In addition to helping on the family farm, she also raised chickens for a short while with one of her sisters. “My family has always been heavily involved in agriculture. My mom grew up on a tobacco farm and my dad grew up farming turkeys,” she said. “I’ve heard thousands of stories of their experience in agriculture, seen their hard work on a daily basis, and been inspired by their passion and love for the industry.”

During her ninth-grade year, Destiny was recruited to join the Spring Creek FFA Chapter in Seven Springs by the advisor of the time. “My sisters had grown up in FFA, so it was almost to be expected of me to join as well,” she said. “I honestly didn’t know if I would like it or what to expect, but it ended up changing my life in many ways.” Destiny not only served in the FFA for four years, but she served as State Officer for one of those years where she helped to lead others through the organization and build connections across the industry. “I became passionate about that blue jacket and all that it stands for during my time with the FFA,” she said. “Not only did it broaden my skillsets, like public speaking and communication, but it also helped me to realize that I can take my passions for agriculture, service and public speaking and use them together in my future agricultural career.” Destiny also learned about an internship with the NCDA&CS during her time in the FFA, and she has been interning with the Commissioner’s office for nearly a year now! “When I learned about this internship, I saw a window through which I could begin to pursue my interests and turn them into my lifestyle,” she said. “I have enjoyed every moment thus far and I can’t wait to keep learning more about agriculture and my place within the industry at the hand of Commissioner Troxler and his staff.”

Currently, Destiny is a sophomore at N.C. State University where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business Management and a minor in Law and Justice. After graduation, Destiny plans to continue on to receive her master’s degree before pursuing a career in the industry. “I would love to eventually be in public service, but I am open to any opportunities that come my way,” she said. “I know without a shadow of a doubt that I want to spend my career in agriculture, but I am not entirely certain where that will take me.” Her dream job is to one day represent the industry as Assistant Commissioner or the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. She would also like to one day have her own education facility and host field trips for students to come and learn about how our food goes from the soil to the shelves. “For six years, I’ve participated in the Field of Dreams booth at the N.C. State Fair, and through this I’ve found a passion for agriculture advocacy, especially with children and students,” she said. “I would love to see that project continue and even have a production of my own similar to that someday.”

In addition to her strong communication and public speaking skills, Destiny also has a talent for education, connection, inspiration, and preparation that will take her a long way in her career. “I am a developer,” she said. “Meaning that I fully believe in the power of relationships and how they can both shape and change our lives. The best way to serve others is to point out their strengths and then teach them how to use those to better the world around them.” Destiny attributes her ability to tell the agriculture story, connect with others through conversation, teach others through speech-giving and workshops, and development of individuals to her time in the FFA and is eternally grateful for those life lessons.

When asked why she wanted to pursue agriculture, Destiny said because agriculture is the story that connects us all and is home to the best people in the world. “Agriculture is the story which we all have a part in telling. Whether you grew up farming or have no clue how your food gets from the farm to the table, we all tell the story of agriculture each day,” she said. “We all rely on agriculture for our food and fiber. It is one of the things that connects every individual on this earth.” As a firm believer in the power of relationships, Destiny enjoys every conversation she has within the agriculture industry and looks forward to building more connections in the future. “No matter where you work in the agriculture industry or who you meet with, it always feels like family,” she said. “When you meet others who work in the industry, you have a connection right off the bat because you both know what it’s like to be a part of the greatest vocation known to man.”

For those seeking a career in the agriculture industry, Destiny reminds you to keep service at the heart of what you do. “If you keep service at the heart of all that you do, the passion will never fade and you will always succeed,” she said. “Everything that happens in the world is built upon relationships. So, meet as many people as you can, learn from them and allow them to help guide your path. Then one day, you can flip the script and do the same to help someone coming up behind you.” We are so proud of all that Destiny has accomplished thus far in her agriculture journey and look forward to seeing where the future will continue to take her!