By Anna Jauhola
In the third week of school, Kittson Central’s Jazlynn Folland spoke to elementary students about agriculture and the important role it plays in everyone’s lives.
Folland, a 10th grader, was recently named 2020 Minnesota Teen Miss Agriculture USA. The nonprofit agency is in its infancy and is meant to promote and celebrate agriculture as well as educate the public. Folland said she was the only person in her age category in the state who showed interest.
Despite the low competition, Folland sees her position as an opportunity to share her passion for agriculture and to educate people with the facts.
“I want to teach people that agriculture is everything, that it is not the problem, but it is the solution,” she said. “We could not live on our planet without agriculture.”
Earlier this year, she saw a Facebook post about the nonprofit, read about it and decided to register and see what chance she had. She received word she had been named Minnesota Teen Miss Agriculture USA while she was in New York for a 4-H exchange trip.
Part of her application process included describing her interests in agriculture.
“I kind of made it longer than it should have been,” she said with a smile. “I explained the 4-H activities I’ve done, like Speaking Up for Agriculture. I just thought it would be a good opportunity to explore agricultural interests.”
She said being the queen in her division for Minnesota will give her the opportunity to meet many other young women across the country who are just as interested in agriculture.
“Other girls in my age group like beef cows, and I love beef cows,” she said. “I might not get to show at the big shows in San Antonio, but this is a good way to explore my knowledge about other things.”
Folland comes from a long-standing farming family. Her parents manage 175 beef cows and plant corn, wheat and soybeans. Folland and her brothers have their chores as a part of the farming crew.
Folland bales hay and cultivates, while her brothers operate the combine during harvest.
“I guess that’s just how I grew up,” she said. “Ever since I was a baby I’ve been riding in tractors. We are the workers, so we learn everything. But, I’ve always loved the animal aspect, like taking care of the bottle calves and I loved watching and learning from veterinarians.”
Folland is planning at least a partial career in agriculture after college. She hopes to double major in anaesthesiology and veterinary medicine, but her main goal is anaesthesiology.
“I’ve been planning this since fifth grade,” she said.
During her reign as 2020 Minnesota Teen Miss Agriculture USA Queen, she hopes to speak to more classes within Kittson Central, but then break out to other area schools. There are no specific requirements for her platform, which leaves her free to develop speaking and other engagements that fit into her schedule.
“A part of why I was interested in this program, too, is because I grew up in 4-H, doing 4-H projects,” she said. “I love public speaking and I’ve done lots of demonstrations, like the Science of Agriculture Challenge.”
While she serves in this position, Folland plans to speak at Karlstad, Greenbush and other area schools, ride in parades during the summer, attend area county fairs and the Minnesota State Fair. She hopes to reach people who don’t necessarily understand agriculture and help them understand its valuable place within the world.
“I hope they are not so quick to judge,” she said. “I feel like people can be quick to judge people in agriculture. I hope before they believe anything they read or hear, that they actually look up the facts or ask somebody who knows agriculture.”
By Anna Jauhola