From 1980 to 2023, PAS offers networking opportunities

2023 Professional Agriculture Student Organization logo Photo credit: National PAS Website

In 1980, Ricks College and The National Professional Agricultural Student Organization met for the first time in their inaugural year. The relationship between the two has been growing stronger ever since.

Each year, the PAS hosts a national conference where students, professionals and employers with a passion for agriculture collaborate “to provide individual growth, leadership and career preparation opportunities for professional agriculture students,” according to the PAS mission statement.

This year, BYU-Idaho sent a team of individuals studying agribusiness to the 2023 National PAS Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, where their knowledge, passion and charisma will be on display. The event consists of four days of individual, team competitions and career and networking events.

Among those representing BYU-I are, McKay Rigby, a junior studying agribusiness and Sarah Holt, also a junior studying agribusiness. Rigby grew up on a dairy farm where he developed a love for the people in agriculture.

Rigby is attending the event for the first time in his PAS career and shares how competitions function.

“We’re presented with the financials of a farm along with some of the weaknesses it might have,” Rigby said. “We analyze, come up with recommendations to better the farm and then take a written exam of different business knowledge and analytical things.”

In order to solve the various situations presented to them, Rigby and the team follow certain formulas as they move through the competitive rounds, including a sudden death quiz bowl on the last day.

“Formulas analyze how much cash the farms have compared to how much debt they might have,” Rigby said. “Formulas for paying back debts in the fiscal year or in the long run. There are some that analyze profitability as well that examine current revenue and expenses and see how income is gauged.”

After attending the previous conference, Holt attends this year with aspirations to become a National Officer hoping to represent Idaho.

“It started with animals,” Holt said. “Becoming involved with them and the lifestyle. As that increased, I fell in love with agriculture. I believe there are no better people than those deeply rooted in agriculture.”

Rigby and Holt are both looking forward to this year’s event, striving to accomplish their goals and take part in “premier leadership and career development,” as stated in the PAS vision statement.

“Professional Agriculture Students really are professionals,” Holt said. “We love agriculture, and want to professionally advocate for it, not just culture and lifestyle, but also a business and way to provide.”