STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Will Howard Wendland
BY ELLIE ISBELL, SOPHOMORE/AG COMMUNICATIONS
Although the majority of students in the College of Agriculture grew up in neighborhoods and have no direct connection to agriculture, Will Howard Wendland, a sophomore majoring in agronomy and soils, perfectly fits the farm boy stereotype. Will Howard believes in hard work, old-fashioned family values and that cowboy boots are perfect for all occasions. Agriculture is in his blood, and he proudly displays this heritage any way he can, from his passion for ag-vocacy to his personalized license plate that reads “HAYBOY.”
Will Howard grew up in the rural farming community of Autaugaville, Alabama. His family has been farming in central Alabama since the late 1800s. They currently grow cotton, corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, sesame and canola. They also have pecan orchards and run a cow-calf operation.
“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been helping out on the farm in any way I can,” Will Howard says. “Most of my summers have been spent working on the farm, doing anything from vaccinating calves to baling hay and straw to spraying cotton fields. It’s something different every day!”
Both of Will Howard’s parents and his two older siblings graduated from Auburn, so Auburn was understandably high on his list when searching for colleges. The fact that he wanted to pursue a degree in agriculture also made Auburn an attractive choice. He came to visit Auburn for TALONS (Talented Academic Leaders, Outstanding National Scholars) Day when he was a senior in high school. After meeting with students and faculty members from the College of Agriculture, he knew this was the right place for him. He chose his major, agronomy and soils, because row crops play an integral part in his family’s farming operation. He also chose to minor in animal science production, because he has always enjoyed working with his family’s cattle.
Since choosing a major typically isn’t that easy for students, Will Howard shares a piece of advice:
“Don’t let your initial thoughts about agriculture deter you from the College of Agriculture. Yes, production ag is a very important part of what we do. But that is not all that agriculture is limited to. There are so many possibilities made available to you through a major in the College of Ag, and I’m sure you can find a way to study something you’ll enjoy.”
Will Howard will graduate in the spring of 2018 and plans to pursue one of two excellent career paths after college. He will either return home to work with his dad and brothers on the family farm, or go to work as a chemical or seed salesman. This summer, he will be interning with Pioneer Seed Company. As an intern, Will Howard will be traveling to meet with growers across the state to check on the progress of their Pioneer crops, meeting with Pioneer retailers and helping manage and prepare test plots for grower field days.
However, Will Howard’s experiences at Auburn have not been limited to studying and internships. He is very involved within the College of Agriculture. Will Howard was recently selected to serve as the Ag Council President for the 2016-2017 school year. He is also the Ag Ambassador social chair and the Ag Council representative for the Auburn University Young Farmers. Outside the college, he has been involved with the SLE Miracle Rodeo, which gives a rodeo-like experience to children who have been treated at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham.
Overall, Will Howard knows that coming to college is an overwhelming experience, but he believes the College of Agriculture provides fantastic resources to thrive while at Auburn.
“If you are looking for a place that you will feel welcome and at home as soon as you walk in the door, the College of Ag is the place for you,” he says. “I’d be willing to bet that we have some of the friendliest faculty members on campus. They are genuinely interested in seeing you succeed and are very willing to help you in any way they can. It truly is like a second family.”
Ellie Isbell is a sophomore studying agricultural communications and is originally from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. She is an Ag Ambassador, Auburn Athletics Marketing Department intern and Project Uplift mentor, in addition to being the editor of War Eagle Words.