Having worked with Farm Bureau for more than ten years now, agriscience education graduate Melinda Witten still loves her job working within Ohio’s agricultural industry.
As a student at Ohio State, Melinda started her experience with Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) as a freshman, where she began her interning journey that continued through all four years of her undergraduate studies. Loving the organization, she knew that OFBF was where she wanted to spend her career once she “grew up.”
After graduating in 2007, Melinda spent her first two years post-college as the organization director in northwestern Ohio before transitioning to a new role training county office staff statewide.
Today Melinda still works for Farm Bureau, but her role has changed to the director of leadership programming. Overseeing the Young Ag Professionals and AgriPOWER Leadership Institute programs, Melinda gets to work with young professionals, farmers, and leaders in the ag industry from all across the state. To quote Melinda about her current role, she is enthusiastic and says, “I LOVE IT!”
Having once been a student aspiring to work in the agricultural industry herself, Melinda has advice to students-
“Be open to any and all options. I know that sounds a little odd coming from a person who has only worked for one employer, but I thought I only wanted to be an organization director. Through time, I learned that I needed to be open to opportunities that came my way. Man, I am glad I did. I am in my dream role.”
She also advises students to meet and connect with as many industry leaders as possible, sharing your vision and goals with them. By sharing your passions with them, they will be able to work with you and connect you with the right individuals to help make your visions a reality.
When she isn’t working for Farm Bureau, Melinda spends her time at home being a farm wife and mother. Meeting her husband in plant biology class at Ohio State, she used the pickup line, “I really like your sweet corn,” referring to the Witten Farm sweatshirt he was wearing. Happily married now with two children, Melinda is now an active part of Witten Farm, and helps to pick produce (including sweet corn) on the nearly 500 acres of produce that is sold in over 22 retail stands throughout Ohio.
Leaving students with one last bit of advice, Melinda says, “Your work ethic and attitude will be the biggest factors in your success. Study really, really hard in college but don’t forget to have a little (a lot!!) of fun while you are there.”