Clark: Sparking a career in agriculture
Kerin Clark’s passion for agriculture began at a young age while spending her childhood riding horses and working cattle.
While growing up, Clarks’s involvement in 4-H and FFA continued to spark her interest in the industry and deepen her love for the lifestyle.
“Through FFA, I transformed from a shy ranch kid to an outgoing advocate for agriculture,” she says. “However, it didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of hard work, experience and guidance.”
In 1993 and 1994, Clark served as the Wyoming FFA Association’s second state vice president.
“This experience solidified my passion for agriculture and set me on course to serve Wyoming’s farming and ranching communities in the future,” Clark states. “I was further able to grow my love for agriculture while serving as Miss Rodeo Wyoming 1997. I carry many of the lessons I learned from these experiences in the work I do today.”
This deep passion for agriculture and the people who comprise the industry is what inspired Clark to pursue a career offering service to Wyoming’s farming and ranching community.
A career in the industry
“I always knew I wanted a career in agriculture, but I wasn’t sure what exact career I wanted until I gained work experiences through my internship with the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation in August 1994,” says Clark. “Internships are very valuable as they give individuals the opportunity to apply what they are learning in college to real world issues. This internship opened my eyes to the work done by the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation.”
Clark explains after her internship, she continued to work for Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation through college and during the year she served as Miss Rodeo Wyoming.
“I ultimately decided to pursue a career with the incredible organization because I love what they stand for and I love the work they do for Wyoming’s farmers and ranchers,” Clark says.
August marked the 25th year Clark has been with the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation.
She currently works as the media and member relations director for Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation and coordinator for the Young Farmer and Ranchers (YF&R) Program. She serves as a field representative for 11 county Farm Bureaus in eastern Wyoming and as a liason for the state office to provide county Farm Bureau teams with leadership board trainings.
“The work I do centers around public relations and leadership and organizational development,” explains Clark. “I am also the editor of our newspaper, Wyoming Agriculture, and I manage our website, social media and advertising.”
“I am so thankful I was able to start a new position with the bureau following my college graduation and work from home, where I can spend time with my kids while doing the work I love,” Clark adds.
When it comes to the most enjoyable aspect of her job, Clark undeniably says it is the people who make up the industry she is in.
“The people I work with and for are what I find most enjoyable about my work,” she says. “I take great pride in doing my best to represent the wonderful people across the Cowboy State, whether it be in sharing their story through media outlets or providing leadership tools and resources for our volunteers to empower them to make a difference.”
“I am so thankful to be able to share my passion for agriculture through the work I do at the Farm Bureau. After growing up in agriculture and raising my family in agriculture, I am very passionate about sharing our story so we can keep Wyoming’s agriculture alive and strong,” Clark adds.
Leading the future of ag
Among her many responsibilities at the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation, coordinating the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Program is one of Clark’s main duties.
As coordinator, Clark is responsible for overseeing all components of the program and serving as the advisor to the State YF&R Committee.
“The YF&R Program is a committee-centered, fully-integrated program within Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation. They started the program in June 2002,” explains Clark.
“My involvement began when I was tasked with serving as the YF&R Coordinator and helping to develop the program,” she says.
Clark explains the objective of the program is to provide leadership in building a more effective Farm Bureau to preserve individual freedoms and expand opportunities in agriculture.
“The program offers many opportunities including leadership development, legislative awareness, educational conferences, networking and some competitive events,” Clark says.
“My favorite thing about involvement in the YF&R Program is watching young Farm Bureau members get involved and grow in their leadership capabilities,” Clark says. “It is so rewarding to work with members who are passionate about agriculture and want to be involved in agriculture leadership. The opportunities provided to young farmers and ranchers are incredible.”
Passing on her passion
Not only does Clark have the opportunity to share her love for the ag industry with young individuals involved in the YF&R Program, she also gets to pass on her passion to her two children, Kadra and Kyler.
“My husband Jake and I have been involved with junior high and high school rodeo for the last seven years with our kids,” says Clark. “Kadra is a senior in high school and Kyler is a freshman. They both high school rodeo for Wyoming.”
As a family, the Clark’s put on a rodeo series they have called the Torrington Youth Series, for youth ages five through 18. The series is made up of eight rodeos from May to August and this year was the 10 year anniversary of their production.
“It all began when we saw a need for a series in our area for young contestants to attend during the summer without having to travel too far,” explains Clark. “With our kids in rodeo, and our rodeo backgrounds, it was a natural fit and we are very thankful for the community’s support over the years.”
Clark notes the hard work put into producing an event like this is absolutely worth it to keep agriculture alive and well in the state of Wyoming and the rest of the country.
“It is so important to keep agriculture strong for many reasons,” she states. “Having food to eat is an obvious reason but there is so much more than that. We have a culture in America because of agriculture. We can do activities we love because we don’t have to spend time growing our own food.”
She continues, “Agriculture also provides great strength to our communities and our state through open spaces, clean air and water and the economic impact it provides through direct purchases and the ripple effect in the community. Keeping agriculture alive is also important to our national security, as it would be disastrous if we had to rely on other nations for all of our food.”
Hannah Bugas is the assistant editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.