Posted on Jan 12, 2017
Zachary Simon from Goddard, Kansas, grew up with a rich history in farming as a fifth generation farmer. Simon's family homesteaded in Kansas in 1890, and his uncles continue to farm the same land. Simon always knew he wanted to continue his family's work through farming and other agricultural pursuits.
"I was always getting in trouble for sneaking out of the house and jumping on the tractor," Simon said. "I was always interested in agriculture and knew I would do something with it, just didn't know what exactly."
After his graduation from Kansas State University with a degree in agronomy, Simon began work as an assistant scientist for a K-State sorghum breeding program. He currently works as an agricultural agent in Sedgwick County for Kansas State Research and Extension. Simon works with farmers across the county with anything from crop production to livestock production, assisting in replicated variety trials and serving as a liaison between the university and the community.
On top of his position as an agricultural agent, Simon continues to farm with his father. The father-son duo farms around 500 acres and also helps out on the family homestead of nearly 2,000 acres.
Simon was referred to the Leadership Sorghum program and has enjoyed his experience in the program thus far. Simon said he was drawn to the program for the opportunity it offered to learn more about the sorghum industry and to obtain personal and professional development.
"We are only two meetings into the program, and it has already exceeded my expectations," Simon said. "I have learned more than I expected to, and I really look forward to the upcoming events."
The best thing about the Leadership Sorghum program for Simon thus far is the bonding experience he has had with other class members and the opportunity to receive different perspectives from around the country. Simon has made several connections, both professional and recreational, that he looks forward to keeping for years to come.
"I would definitely recommend Leadership Sorghum to anyone who is interested," Simon said. "Just go out on a limb and try it because it has been an excellent experience."
Equipment Color: John Deere Green
Tractor Tunes: Red Dirt country, talk radio, K-State games
Favorite Season on the Farm: Harvest
Favorite Part of Farming: The satisfaction of being able to see the progress of all the work you are doing in a hands-on environment
Hobbies: Hunting, fishing, playing with his kids and hanging out with his family
Zachary is a member of Leadership Sorghum Class III, a program designed to foster the next generation of sorghum leaders. The program exposes members to various aspects of the sorghum industry from basic and applied research to international marketing. Through both hands-on and classroom-style education, participants gain an understanding of how sorghum moves through the value chain, how checkoffs and interest organizations interact on behalf of the industry and what the future holds for the crop. The program also provides professional development training and networking opportunities.