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Monica Paskewitz
Class of 2019

Name: Monica Paskewitz
Hometown: Melbourne, AR
Title/Position: USDA - District Conservationist
Briefly describe your role: I have worked for USDA for a little over 10 years, I started my career in South Arkansas and have worked in multiple offices across the state. I help farmers and ranchers daily decide the best way to manage their natural resources and meet their objectives on their farms. We focus primarily on addressing resource concerns on their property all while helping them manage their production needs. I work closely with local partners across the state to provide further education and assistance for local producers with conservation issues and needs.
Q: Is what you’re doing now what you always pictured you would do?
A: I grew on a beef cattle farm and I always knew I wanted to be involved in Agriculture. I debated on which aspect of the industry I would like to work in.
Every scholarship, job, or college enrollment application I ever completed asked, “what your goals” and my top goal has always been to promote Agriculture in the state of Arkansas. I can’t tell you how many times I have written that down on paper. I’m so proud to say that looking back on my accomplishments, I feel I am reaching that goal, it feels so good to support and advocate for the industry that is the backbone of our great nation.
While attending Southern Arkansas University I received a scholarship from the Arkansas Razorback Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. There I learned about the Natural Resources Conservation Service and applied for an Internship with NRCS and the rest is history. My husband and I have a beef cattle farm and we are thrilled to be raising our two daughters, Maddie and Maylee, on the farm and in an industry that is so dear to our hearts.
Q: What do you see as the greatest challenges for women in your chosen industry? What are the greatest opportunities?
A: One of the biggest challenges I have faced, especially early on in my career, was gaining trust of clients and of peers. I have already in my career witnessed society adapt more to working with women in various professions. Working with respectable farmers and ranchers that have forgotten more than I will ever know can be very intimidating.
This is such an exciting time for agriculture, technical advances are being made daily, the sky is the limit if you are willing to work for it.  In the future, I think our society will be forced to realize the importance agriculture plays in our lives.
Q: Who has inspired you in your life/career?
A: There have been several people whom I have considered mentors both male and female. Early in my career I met Kate Childress and she helped me learn the ropes so to speak, I still admire her today. There are a few ladies that serve on the Arkansas Women in Agriculture board that have given me opportunities to succeed and shown me endless support, whom I admire greatly, one particularly being Amy Lyman.  I have always received support from my family, they always made me believe I could do anything I set my mind to.
Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring professional?
A: Get in involved! Join local and state organizations that support the agriculture industry. Work hard, always treat people equally and with respect. There is no limit to the amount of greatness you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.
Q: What’s been your secret to success?
A: God’s grace has played the biggest role in any success I have had. My family has always been very supportive of every endeavor I embarked on. I have a wonderful husband that supports me and pushes me to be better every day. Growing up on the farm, I learned how to work hard. I also learned you don’t quit until the job is done.
Often you will have to make sacrifices to reach your goals and sometimes you will fail. Learn from it, show up and don’t give up! I feel so blessed to have been raised on our family farm and I’m forever grateful to be raising my children on the farm.
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