BVU Agronomy Major Takes on Corn Leadership Role

Mister McNaughton is growing his knowledge of the agriculture industry through his education at BVU and his participation in extra-curricular activities focused on ag including the Iowa Corn Collegiate Advisory Team and BVU Ag Club.

Buena Vista University freshman Mister McNaughton spotted BVU President Joshua Merchant on his way through Siebens Forum recently. McNaughton extended his hand and said, “I’m glad you brought agriculture here.”

McNaughton, the first recipient of the Joshua & Carrie Merchant Scholarship in Agriculture Fund, relishes how agriculture helped bring him to BVU, and how the industry continues to take him places. The Sidney High School graduate was selected by the Iowa Corn Promotion Board to be a member of the Iowa Corn Collegiate Advisory Team, a post that has taken him to meetings and conferences in Johnston and Des Moines on three occasions. The agronomy major heads to San Antonio this week to take part in the U.S. Commodity Classic.

"Lots of young people grow up on a farm and maybe don’t know of all the possibilities before them in agriculture."

Mister McNaughton

“Being on the advisory team has given me the opportunity to learn more about agriculture while connecting with people in the industry and developing leadership skills,” McNaughton says.

A recent gathering at the Henry A. Wallace Building in Des Moines put McNaughton face-to-face with Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, a 2000 BVU graduate.

“We discussed agriculture and the development of BVU’s ag program,” says McNaughton, whose instruction occurs within BVU’s new Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Resource Management, a key component of BVU’s strategic plan.

A student in a farm co-op office

McNaughton’s travel with the Iowa Corn Collegiate Advisory Team keeps an already busy Beaver on the move. A member of the BVU ROTC, McNaughton found time to complete a paid January internship by working Monday through Friday at First Cooperative Association in Cherokee. His duties involved spreading dry fertilizer, watching over a 7,000-bushel-per hour grain dryer, operating a wet corn transfer, and more.

“I’m going back to First Co-op to work this summer,” he says.

As the first president to preside over the BVU Ag Club, McNaughton says he’ll do all he can to spread the word about the University’s commitment to agriculture and rural communities. Last week, he and other Ag Club members hosted dozens of area high school FFA students on campus in advance of FFA Week, Feb. 22-29. The state’s leading industry, he says, needs ambitious young people who are willing to market Iowa’s knowledge, work ethic, and wares.

“Lots of young people grow up on a farm and maybe don’t know of all the possibilities before them in agriculture,” he says. “You can still be a farmer and take on leadership roles in organizations devoted to corn, soybeans, and more.”

A bright future, he adds, is dependent upon that kind of involvement.

“All through high school I worked for farmers,” says McNaughton, an FFA member at Sidney High. “I’m working for them in a different way now. And I’m learning what I can do to help advance the industry that’s key to our future."