AgriNovus Indiana Works to Bring College ‘Outsiders’ to Ag Through Field Atlas Platform




Labor shortages continue to plague the agriculture industry. Those shortages aren’t only on the farm, and AgriNovus Indiana is looking to help.

Rilynne Puckett, a Ball State junior working toward a degree in Chemistry, was one of 12 college students from Indiana universities who toured Fair Oaks pig adventure and did a farm tour with West Lafayette-based Solinftec last week. The event was part of AgriNovus Indiana’s Field Atlas platform to build awareness of the agbioscience industry and connect the students with careers and on-farm experiences.

“As a first-generation student, there was not too much exposed to me about college or really what you can do,” Rilynne explained. “And being a chemistry major on top of that, it’s such a broad major that you can do so much with. I really would just love to open my scope of what’s actually available out here to me other than what we’re used to hearing such as being in a cosmetology lab or something like that. I want to make an impact.”

After seeing the care given to the pigs at Fair Oaks and the work being done with fertilizer and other nutrients, Rilynne felt a spark for agriculture.

Rilynne Puckett, Ball State University

“It honestly is breeding a want of innovation. I want to be someone who can help to make our food life better or just anything that us humans use day to day, I now have a spark in me that’s like, I can create something. There are more ideas out here to be created. We haven’t capped out.”

Rilynne has opened her mind now to a future in the ag space and is interested in learning more about careers that align with her chemistry background. She encourages other students across Indiana to check out the Field Atlas program from AgriNovus so they can have a similar experience.

“There is a hidden world literally under here. I can say I was one of the people who thought there was not much to agriculture or just the hard work that goes behind it. But after taking the tour today, I see there’s a whole family and it’s a family that is looking to grow and is breeding creativity and innovation. There is so much room. I can see it. I can see the vision of agriculture growing and even how other people, if your major interest isn’t in agriculture, there is a place for you here. That has been emphasized, and it is honestly comforting. As a chemistry major, you think there’s nothing here for me, but there is. There’s a spot for everyone here and I love it.”

In addition to Ball State, students from Purdue, IU, IUPUI, Indiana State, Manchester, Marian, and Franklin College joined the tour with majors like biology, food science, pharmacy, nutrition, and data science. Learn more about the Field Atlas program at the AgriNovus Indiana website.