Instilled in her while growing up around the rodeo, Shelby Cochran’s interest in agriculture led her to the Agriculture Future of America Leaders Conference in Kansas City, Mo.,in November.
The AFA hosts the annual conference to teach college students agricultural leadership skills, and Cochran, a 2010 Windsor High School graduate, was one of 550 students from across the nation picked to attend.
The conference brought in agriculture industry leaders and CEOs to give the students presentations on career planning, Cochran said.
“They offered great info for all of us to take home,” she said. “We had a lot of time to mingle, look for potential opportunities and interact with other people and hear their experiences.”
Cochran is now in her third year at Colorado State University in Fort Collins studying agriculture business.
She said her parents, Brice and Lynn, who have volunteered with Greeley Stampede for over 20 years, sparked her interest in agriculture. She said she would often tag along to help her parents at the rodeo each summer growing up.
“I’ve been out there every summer, helping with rodeo crew,” Cochran said. “I’ve been doing that every year as long as can remember. It’s given me my passion and appreciation for the work goes into [agriculture].”
While in high school, Cochran was a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency and also worked for four years at Cozy Cow Dairy north of town. In 2011, she was one of 10 state officers elected to the FSA state leadership team and spent time traveling around the state presenting agriculture advocacy in schools.
Beyond college, Cochran said, the area of agriculture business that seems to interest her most is sales and marketing.
“I think I’m leaning more on the marketing and promotion side, whether that’s through an ag literacy firm or through rodeo promotions,” Cochran said.
She’s also still passionate about rodeo and said she wants to make sure it can continue to inspire a love of agriculture in kids for a long time.
“Rodeo has a big role to play for the face of agriculture,” she said. “It’s good exposure. I’ve always had such a positive experience with it and I want that to continue for other people.”