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Ag leaders in the making.1

By Staff | Mar 25, 2011

Andy Pringnitz, of Spirit Lake, poses in a combine cab. He was one of several Iowa college ag majors to receive scholarships from BASF this year.

SPIRIT LAKE – Andy Pringnitz knows that scholarship funds don’t just fall off the money tree. He knows they need to be pursued.

And because he threw his hat in the ring when BASF Crop Protection and the National Corn Growers Association combined to award five $1,000 scholarships to students pursuing degrees in an agriculture-related field, he emerged as one of the winners.

Other winners within the Farm News coverage area was Kevin Berkland, of Sibley, and Amy Peyton, of Sac City.

Pringnitz, 21, a junior at Iowa State University, received the award during a special awards presentation at the 2011 Commodity Classic in Tampa, Fla. Criteria for the award included scholarship, leadership and extracurricular activities.

“I’m really appreciative of the financial support,” said Pringnitz. “The chance to attend the Commodity Classic was also a great opportunity. I’m thankful to BASF and the NCGA for selecting me and giving me this chance to interact with all those people in Florida.”

“There are not that many (young) people with ties to agriculture, but those of us who do have an opportunity to do what we love to do and leave our marks.” —Andy Pringnitz ISU ag triple-major

Pringnitz, the son of Doug and Nancy Pringnitz, graduated from Spirit Lake High School in 2008 aftergrowing up on the family’s corn/soybean and cattle feedlot. He is currently working on a triple major in college – ag business, economics and international agriculture. Pursuing an ag-related field of study was something that just came naturally to him, he said.

“Growing up I always loved being outside and helping my dad work on the farm. I’ve always had a passion for agriculture and I like the business discussions – maybe because I have more of a business mind,” he said.

His ag business major has given him opportunities to travel and experience agriculture in other countries including Argentina, Vietnam, China, Nicaragua, Greece, parts of Europe, and, most recently, Tanzania.

“We have a growing population and an increasing standard of living in places like India and China, and (soon) Africa, and there is only one way to feed them,” he said of the importance of young people entering the farming arena. “Agricultural opportunities are great and it’s interesting to be part of it. There are not that many (young) people with ties to agriculture, but those of us who do have an opportunity to do what we love to do and leave our marks.”

Pringnitz added that agriculture isn’t just a matter of knowing what one’s neighbors are doing anymore; but knowing what the world needs and wants.

“With technology, our world is becoming more and more connected,” Pringnitz said. “We think about our competition being the farm across the road, but in reality our biggest competitor could be in South America.

“Countries like China purchase a lot from countries like Argentina and Brazil. They’re right there with the U.S. It will be a challenge for American producers to continue to establish ourselves in that world market. It should keep us on our toes.”

Pringnitz’ trip to Africa was sponsored though ISU and allowed him to look into suppliers of agricultural products there, learn about the markets and infrastructure and more. He plans to travel the world as much as he can in an effort to understand the world market and see the agricultural “big picture.”

As far as attending the Commodity Classic in Florida, Pringnitz said being associated with that kind of gathering was everything he hoped it would be.

“It was a place to gather with leaders of the (primary) grain industries — corn, soybeans, wheat and sorghum — and hear their thoughts and exchange ideas with them,” he said. “It was a very large trade show with speakers on lots of agricultural topics. Tom Vilsack spoke to us there, as well as the chairman of the house ag committee. Interesting stuff.”

Pringnitz is used to being a leader wherever he goes. He belongs to “FarmHouse” fraternity at ISU, and has served as both the vice president and alumni director in the past. He also served as president of that fraternity during the fall 2010 semester and received the fraternity’s national “Outstanding President Award,” which he received at a ceremony in Kansas City last January.

Post-college plans for Pringnitz call for him to do more traveling if possible, and studying the economics and finances of agriculture as a global industry. He said if that ends up bringing him back home to the family’s 2,000-acre grain farm to work someday, then he will be happy with that also.

Contact Karen Schwaller at kschwaller@evertek.net.

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