Next Gen Ag: A desire to help any farmer in need

by | Apr 3, 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!

Did you know that love at first sight applies to the agriculture industry? Ever since she was a little girl, Leah Solomon has loved agriculture and all that it has to offer. Growing up alongside her grandfather, father, and uncle on the family farm in Caswell County, she learned at a young age what it was like to work hard for a crop and reap the rewards during the harvest. From playing on the tobacco barns to studying agriculture at N.C. State University, our state’s number-one industry has helped shaped Leah’s life path in many ways.

After fighting in World War II, Leah’s grandfather returned home to Caswell County, purchased land, and started the family farm. “I am the third generation to grow up on this farm and I grew up learning the trade from my father, grandfather and uncle,” Leah said. “I have always loved the work, community, and culture of it.” Growing mostly tobacco and soybeans, the family farm has become a staple in the community and taught Leah a lot about hard work. “My grandpa was the one who inspired me to a life of agriculture because I saw how hard he worked, alongside other members of my family, every single day,” she said. “I saw the passion that drove him to continue fighting for the farm during the hard seasons and the pride he felt when a crop came through to harvest. As a girl I wanted to be just like him, but now I want to spend my life helping people like him.”

As a Junior at N.C. State University, Leah is studying Agriculture Business Management with a minor in Crop Science. “I have learned so much about the agriculture industry during my time at N.C. State because of the broad array of classes that they present to us,” she said. “Agriculture is the backbone of our state and the world. We wouldn’t have food or clothes without it. N.C. State University has done a great job of teaching me all the facets that make up that backbone and how they all work together to create our state’s number one industry.” This summer, Leah is hoping to intern with either N.C. State Extension or a tobacco company near her hometown. “I would love to get some hands-on experience in either area,” Leah said.

After graduation, Leah is hoping to work for a tobacco company and help farmers with agronomy, contracts, or grading. She is also considering becoming an N.C. State Extension Agent. “No matter what I do with my career, I know that I want to be in agriculture, and I want to help the farmers across this state,” she said. “I always admired my grandfather, but I know that he had to have help from time to time. I want to be someone that farmers can trust and rely on to help them with any problems that they face.”

With strong communication skills, problem solving skills, a passion for the industry, farming knowledge and an outgoing personality, Leah is well on her way to building relationships across the industry and establishing her place as a future leader. “Relationships are the key to success in agriculture,” she said. “Often times it’s all about who you know and who you trust. Agriculture is one big family, so I am working hard to present myself as someone who is here to help, willing to learn and ready to take on a challenge.”

Although she loves many aspects of the agriculture industry, Leah’s favorite part is the people that she encounters and their hard work ethic. “People in agriculture have a passion that is unmatched and drives them every day,” she said. “I learned a lot from my grandfather, including the fact that you will get knocked off your feet at some point, but God will provide, and you will make it through. That’s a sentiment I’ve seen shared across the industry and one that I hope to contribute to my future career.”

To those looking for a potential career in agriculture, Leah recommends learning all that you can about the industry to find your place. “Be open to all new learning opportunities, whether hands-on or in the classroom,” she said. “I learn something new about this industry every single day and it helps me to grow as a student and future leader. You can work in agriculture no matter where your interests lie, so just find what speaks to you and run with it.” We are so proud of al that Leah is doing to work towards her future in agriculture!