(419) 423-9145

Women in Ag featuring 4-H Educator, Tori Kirian

Farm Fact Friday: Women in Ag featuring 4-H Educator, Tori Kirian

July 17, 2023



Hello everyone welcome back to another Farm Fact Friday I am here at the Ohio State University extension office in Hancock county and we are going to talk to a woman in ag. So in the past we have talked about agri-business careers we have talked about 4-h and now we’re going to have a little interview with someone I know very well and she’s going to kind of walk us through what she does in agriculture in a different light than what we typically think of ag. So you know you may think ag you think farmers well she is going to share how she helps to educate the youth in the community and what she does with 4-h.

So I’m going to flip the camera around and introduce you to Tori Kirian, Tori how are you today, I’m great how are you, okay I’m well I’m well well thanks for joining us we had an interest in what women in agriculture are doing I think it’s important to highlight that and that agriculture is much more than just taking care of the the soil and producing crops and animals. We kind of expose people to those areas in what you’re doing so just give us a little idea of what you are currently doing in your ag career yes so currently. I am the 4-h youth development educator here in Hancock County, so we oversee the 4-h program here. So typically when you think of 4-h you think of the fair you think of the farms but we have so many other opportunities for the youth in our community. So we do some school programming we talk about financial literacy we have all sorts of different projects that we can do we work with our volunteers just so we can make a huge impact on our youth and so this can be tied into agriculture beyond just the projects having to do with livestock and the fair but with agriculture you know you do have to do record keeping and bookkeeping and so by doing these financial literacy programs we are able to introduce a little bit of the agriculture with kids who might not grow up around it and so there’s a lot of different unique opportunities for the youth of Hancock County where we can dabble in a little bit of the agriculture side of things and all the programs that we do very good.

So I’d like to kind of give people an idea of what it took to get where you are today so share with us what you had to do after high school to pursue the career that you’re in what did you do, did you go to college, did you have certain jobs that led you to the extension office? Yeah so I went to the University of Findlay where I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Animal Science and I’m really proud of that, I minored in chemistry I started out my pathways I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian and after some trips some experiences decided some shadowing in the clinics decided it wasn’t exactly what felt right for me. I’ve always had a passion for education I always threw on the idea of a teacher and a veterinarian so I guess this is kind of a little bit of a combination um but not really um so I attended the University of Findlay decided that I wanted to get involved out in the barn I’m a very hands-on learner and so that’s also great for the 4-h program but I decided to apply to work out at the Barnes as a student worker ended up going on to be an intern and so I got to work with a wide variety of college students. Some who grew up on a farm like I did some who had never seen a cow in their life and so I loved being able to bridge the gap between the public and agriculture because there’s not as many people involved in it now and it was the passion that I had and so after graduation as I was trying to decide what exactly I wanted to do I. applied to be the summer program assistant in Seneca County so I worked with Seneca County for a summer. I helped plan and facilitate camps, judging’s, a stem day, covered buds days, so clover buds are those in kindergarten through second grade and found that I really do enjoy this and would like to do it for a career. So in between I was in the trenches literally putting in farm drainage tile for my dad and really loved getting to interact with the various farmers and I mean in here we work with farmers we work with all sorts of different people and then after applying for a few different positions got a program assistant position in Harding County where I worked for two years again helping them plan and facilitate various workshops for projects the fair helping at the fair helping with servsafe exams, parenting classes all the things that you might not know exists in extension. Until I heard of this position this spring and immediately jumped onto it because it’s the next step into becoming where we are now as an educator so it took a few steps took some times to get here but we made it.

So very good yeah I think all those experiences are super important and as someone who’s passionate about ag as I am as you are helping to bridge those gaps between what we know and love with the public is so so important. So you’ve taken us from high school all the way till now share with us just a few experiences that you had maybe growing up that led you to think hmm I want to continue doing something in ag. Yes so um growing up I was raised around livestock we’ve had Holstein cattle some other cross-bred beef cattle at my dad’s that we’ve raised out for freezer beef and we have pictures of when I was just a little sprout walking my brother’s calves just being out there since he’s just a few years older than I am um and I’ve always loved being around the livestock and getting to work with them. We um real crop farm so just being around it I love getting to work with the community like I mentioned tiling did that before I graduated too and working with the farmers they’re so fun. They would be willing to do anything for you, give this shirt off their back crack a few jokes in the process and so it’s just a great community to get to work with and I wanted to be able to give back to I guess what raised me because I definitely wouldn’t be here if it wouldn’t be for my experiences in agriculture growing up. Very good were you a part of 4-h ffa any other organizations like that? Yeah so actually I am a third generation 4-h um my grandparents met at 4-h camp so Kelly’s island that’s where they met that started our little family um and then my mom and her siblings were in the program my older brother was and so obviously little sister wants to be like big brother and has to do it too so I was an 11 year 4-h member in Crawford County where I showed a variety of projects from livestock to the cooking and sewing to rope got to attend the state fair a few times and i also was a camp counselor junior fair board royalty all the advocation going on for 4-h and also a few state leadership opportunities and trips as well so definitely very involved in the program. I always like to tell our counselors and campers um and all these if it wouldn’t be for this program I would still probably be sitting in a corner not talking to anybody because my first year counselors were like Tori remember you’re the doc and you were crying and you didn’t want to talk to anybody you were so terrified. So again a program that is very beneficial and can really teach a lot to a person especially throughout agriculture. Very good, so sometimes there’s an event or an experience or a mentor that kind of leads us on the path that we find ourselves going down what was that for you that led you to this type of ag career? I would definitely say a lot of the people that I met throughout my experiences in 4-h as well as a few of my professors at Findlay, you know as you’re talking about ideas of what do you want to do what do you want to do sometimes I’d bring it up they’re like maybe not quite tour that might not be such the lifestyle for you um but really just some of the people that are working out there nobody really pops in my mind. There’s so many people um but just encouraging me to follow my dreams and to do what I’m passionate about because if you’re doing something you love you never work a day in your life and so while some days are tough they still encourage to keep going and to follow your heart because life’s too short. Yes very good and that’s super important in any career and sometimes the path that we think we want to go down like you with being a vet um it takes a turn and those bends and curves are not bad things they make us who we are and I think that’s important especially for the youth as they find themselves and figure out exactly what they want to do and for you to be passionate as a 4-h educator you were sharing with me prior to this that it’s not an eight-to-five job that some nights you’re here till nine o’clock doing interviews or you may be on location somewhere else even on the weekend getting things done and yet there’s still office work to be done.

So you have to have that passion and that drive to me to make you want to come and do it the next day and that is so so important so you’ve mentioned the people in the ag community but tell us what your absolute favorite thing is about agriculture. I just love the way that it can connect people and honestly most people that I love going out to the barn the steers and just watching them because they are very interesting creatures. So whether they’re just tromping around the pen you throw straw in and they’re rolling around but it just says a lot about life. That there’s these cycles there’s times that there’s down times where you just relax in stairs are sitting there chewing their could ruminating um nutrition is one of my favorite things. So I kind of geek out with the room in his stomach fun fact um but there are so many different things that you can learn from the life cycles of plants the way they strive and sometimes even the toughest times and to continue to go on the end and create this awesome product and so that’s one of the other reasons. Why I love agriculture and the things that we can how we can compare it the steps of life and the way that life works out. So awesome wow that was I think I got chills a little bit from that just not only being in agriculture but understanding that what we’re doing like with real crops with animals that it teaches us a lot about life in general and that’s awesome that you point that out. So last question I have for you today aside from the work that you do whether it be eight to five or late at night or on the weekends what are other ways that you’re currently contributing to the to agriculture in the area. Yeah so like I mentioned we do have cattle at home whether it’s feeding them helping call them and then also helping out at home with the farm I saw a sweatshirt the other day that’s a professional perch runner and I was like hey I need that because normally I’m the gopher to go find something but just helping out at home with the family sharing any positive posts that I can on social media about agriculture and any chance that I get and honestly any chance I get to talk about it I tend to. So it’s one of those things that I do definitely try to incorporate into my everyday life outside of my working extension.

Very good, well really appreciate having you on so thank you very much I think tori shared a lot of important pointers she’s young in her career but yet very passionate and I think her energy brings a lot to the youth in Hancock County as well as surrounding counties as well. I’m sure there’s a lot of collaboration as they work with youth and trying to instill in them those excellent qualities that 4-h provides and will keep you know harping on what it does for an individual as they continue to grow and learn. So as I mentioned Tori is a very close contact to me she’s actually my first cousin so I have known her since she was a little bitty baby, so it is very exciting to see her as a young woman in the ag career doing what our grandparents did our moms did and now what we’re doing. So um gets me a little bit at the heartstrings right now so I hope you guys enjoyed hearing a little bit about what women in ag are doing in an unconventional way. There are lots of ag careers out there so if you are interested in hearing more about what Tori does as you pursue maybe a career of your own like she said she’s always happy to share that. So this was our first episode of women in ag there will be more as I make more connections to help bring a topic to life that is of interest so with that by golly have a great rest of your Friday a wonderful weekend we’ll check you back next week for another Farm Fact Friday take care.