Next Gen Ag: A passion for pigs inspires a career in NC Agriculture

by | Jun 26, 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!

Animals have a special way of speaking to our soul. Molly Addison Jones from Union County fell in love with animals at a young age on her grandparents’ hobby farm, but it wasn’t until her college years that she fell in love with pigs and her career path was forever changed.

As a child, Molly wasn’t immersed in the world of agriculture, but she had some knowledge of the industry due to her grandparents’ hobby farm, which was home to many horses and donkeys. “Even though I didn’t grow up working on a farm, I did fall in love with animals on the hobby farm,” she said. “That love of animals led me to work on a local farm in high school, and, eventually, the swine unit at N.C. State University.” As a young girl, Molly thought that she wanted to be a doctor, but once she fell in love with animals, that dream morphed into a veterinarian. “Agriculture is crucial to everyone, even the livestock animals that provide our meat and poultry products,” she said. “”We all need to understand and appreciate the farmers for their hard work feeding the world, which is one of the reasons I decided to make agriculture my career.

Upon graduating high school, Molly transitioned to N.C. State University where she began pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. She graduated with that degree in May of 2023 and has been working ever since on pursuing her DMV in the Veterinary School. “I knew that I wanted to focus on medium to larger animals, but I wasn’t specifically sure which veterinary avenue to pursue until I had classes with Dr. Flowers at NCSU,” Molly said. “He got me more interested in the agriculture industry, specifically working with pigs.” For 3.5 years, Molly worked at the Swine Unit at NC State where she gained lots of hands-on experience with pigs. “It was great to not only learn in the classroom but be able to apply that knowledge at the swine unit,” she said. “I love the rewards of seeing a pigs lifecycle and all the ways that they benefit us as a society.” In addition to working at the swine unit, Molly has held a variety of internships throughout her college years to gain experience in her field of interest and make connections, including Porter Farms, Smithfield Hog Production, and the Swine Vet Center in Minnesota. Molly will graduate with her Veterinary Degree from NC State in 2027 and, hopefully, start a career as a swine production veterinarian. Eventually, she would like to teach at the collegiate level or on farms to ensure the next generation and their parents understand the importance of agriculture and livestock farming.

Molly’s skillsets include her passion, leadership, education, and an adaptability to the changes around her. “Things are always going to change whether we want them to or not,” she said, “it’s important to be able to adapt to those changes and continue to push agriculture forward in a way that benefits the world for years to come.” Although she loves working in the agriculture industry for many reasons, her favorite parts are the people and the pigs. “The people in this industry are by far some of the most passionate and enthusiastic people, especially the ones who work with pigs,” she said. “It’s an honor to work alongside them every single day.”

Molly occasionally teaches 4th graders about agriculture in her mom’s elementary school class. When the kids ask her about a career in agriculture, she always tells them to find what part of the industry interests them and get involved. “I encourage kids and adults to visit farms in their area,” she said. “For older kids, I recommend that they take a chance and reach out to a producer who will let them work on the farm. Gain hands-on experience. Get involved and don’t look back.” We are so proud of all that Molly has accomplished thus far in her education and can’t wait to see where the future of agriculture takes her!