Mazi can make friends anywhere she goes. On a bus going to Washington D.C. or at a conference for an organization, she loves meeting new people. Don’t talk about sheep too close to her or she will talk your ear off about how much she loves sheep and its industry. Her passion for meeting new people, sheep, and leadership is what makes her a great young person in ag.
- What is your ag background?
I am the fourth-generation agriculturists where in the past we farmed corn and soybeans, but know we are only focused on the sheep industry. We currently run about 20 breeding ewes with alternating breeding rams every two years. The lambs will be born between January 1st and March 31st. The lambs that don’t meet show quality will be sold to local consumers and sale barns. The sheep industry has opened many doors for me and is something I am happy to be a part of and teach others about it.
- What college do you attend and what is your major?
I am a freshman at Lake Land College in Mattoon, IL in the Agriculture Transfer program. After Lake Land, I will transfer to a four-year university and double major in agriculture business and animal science.
- What is your involvement at Lake Land?
I am a Freshman Delegate in the Student Government Association that represents the student body. I am also a part of our Agriculture Transfer Club and the Inaugural Colligate Farm Bureau here on campus.
- What were some of your high school experiences/involvement in ag?
I was a part of many organizations including serving on the 2016-2017 state FFA officer team as the Section 13 President. I also served as the District III student director. In 4-H I have been the president of my club for the past 4 years. My senior year I was able to start my own agricultural business, Black Sheep Photography. I traveled to different livestock shows and farms to take photos of livestock that was then used as promotional tools.
- What is your dream job?
I really hope to one day open up my own feed mill to supply livestock producers with feed as well as help them with supplements for their animals.
- Do you have any mentors?
My main mentor would have to be my mom. She has never relied on anybody, even in terms of a job. She has opened two successful businesses.
- Do you remember anything that has really changed in agriculture?
I have seen more and more involvement with the youth in the agriculture industry. Youth are becoming involved earlier in 4-H and learning about where their food comes from. However, there is still a large gap between those children and other children who do not know where their food comes from.
- How do you see the agriculture industry changing in the next 5-10 years?
I see technology becoming bigger and better. I also see GMO’s becoming bigger and better. Hopefully with that comes, even more, education about where our food comes from so consumers can be well educated.
- Do you have any advice for younger people in agriculture/FFA or thinking about agriculture as a career?
Don’t sell yourself short, even if you don’t come from an agriculture background. Agriculture is getting bigger, never smaller. If you think you can play a part in this industry or have a new idea then go for it.
- Have you ever been looked down on because you’re a young woman in the agriculture industry?
Women in the livestock industry/ show industry are supposed to know their place which is usually just along the fence or alongside the show ring and aren’t supposed to do anything. When they do step up they are looked at as bossy or rude when really, they just want the same opportunities as everyone else. I would say that I have experienced this and have learned how to deal with it.
Lake Land College