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Ryan Talkington's summer internship, took him throughout Missouri as he networked with farmers and studied  
the state's agricultural landscape. (Submitted photos)

Ryan Talkington's summer internship, took him throughout Missouri as he networked with farmers and studied the state's agricultural landscape. (Submitted photos)

Oct. 2, 2020

Campus opportunities, internship help Talkington thrive in agricultural environment

By Leah Newell, communication assistant

Northwest Missouri State University student Ryan Talkington’s passion for agriculture started at a young age, and now he’s getting the opportunity to experience the industry firsthand through experiences at the University and other opportunities.

Talkington, a senior agricultural sciences major from Bowling Green, Missouri, completed a summer internship with MFA Incorporated, a regional agriculture cooperative serving more than 45,000 farmers and business owners in Missouri and adjacent states. He traveled throughout Missouri, learning about agriculture and picked up a few valuable lessons along the way.

“Make as many connections as possible, challenge yourself to learn daily and, most importantly, have fun,” Talkington said. “The management skills along with communication that I developed will be very beneficial in my future.”

Talkington logged more than 7,000 during his summer travel. The internship also provided him with knowledge of the agricultural landscape in Missouri.

“I learned how diverse the Missouri agriculture is,” Talkington said. “In the northern half producers are focused on row crop, but as you travel south producers are primarily focused on raising cattle. In the boot heel there is even cotton, rice and peanuts grown.”

Of all the places he traveled, one stood out more than the rest.

“The stop I made in Ozark, Missouri, stood out to me because the soil was so rocky,” Talkington said. “I could only put my soil probe in the ground two inches. That was very different from home.”

Talkington says Northwest agricultural sciences courses, such as plant science, helped provide a solid foundation for him to build on during his internship.

“For one lab lesson we went out and identified weeds,” Talkington said. “That was a large part of what I did this summer for MFA. I was tracking the weeds that were showing up in pastures and evaluating the effectiveness of pasture management tools.”

While growing up, Talkington always admired those involved in agriculture.

“The agricultural life is not an easy one. However, it is very rewarding,” Talkington said.

Talkington keeps himself involved on campus, too. He is a School of Agricultural Sciences ambassador and the president of Northwest’s Collegiate Farm Bureau chapter.

As an ambassador, he interacts with future students on campus by providing tours and travels to Future Farmers of America (FFA) conventions at the state and national levels. Being president of the Collegiate Farm Bureau chapter at Northwest allows Talkington to advocate for continuous agricultural growth through safe practices. He and his fellow officers make connections with students and leaders throughout the state and country.

“My fondest memory of being president of Collegiate Farm Bureau was last February,” Talkington said. “We had the most members in attendance at the Missouri Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher’s Conference with 26 members in attendance. I was so proud of how many students we had there to represent our chapter as well as Northwest.”

Talkington’s hometown is roughly four and a half hours from Maryville, but he says the welcoming campus environment helped ease his transition to college. After graduating, he intends to use the knowledge he has gained at Northwest and his internship to secure a position in agricultural sales.

“When I came on a visit it felt like I was coming home,” Talkington said. “The faculty and staff are devoted to student success. I love it and I am proud to call Northwest and Maryville my home away from home.”


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215