‘Agriculture truly is my entire life.’ Virginia Tech graduate leading the way for next generation of farmers

Published: May. 12, 2023 at 4:40 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - More than 7,000 undergraduate and graduate Hokies are starting a new chapter. One of those students is ninth-generation farmer Ashlyn Clemmer.

“Agriculture truly is my entire life,” explained Clemmer. “That is what I live and breathe. That is what my family lives and breathes. That is what we base all of our decisions off of – the farm always comes first.”

Clemmer has a deep-rooted passion for the beef industry. She grew up working on her family’s commercial beef cattle farm in Central Virginia. Staying close to her roots, she pursued a bachelor’s degree in animal and poultry sciences.

“I am a first-generation college student,” added Clemmer. “And I just felt that I could get an education at Virginia Tech. In order to benefit my family. as well as the world. if I could put it to good use.”

Clemmer is one of more than 7,000 Hokies graduating from the university this spring. Many of them packed Lane Stadium Friday morning as their loved ones celebrated them.

They heard from National Geographic Society Chairman Jean Case - the commencement speaker. She encouraged them to be explorers as they take on life.

“You are setting off on the most exhilarating, challenging, maddening, and wonder expedition anyone could ever go on. So, how can this be the case? Because it turns out life is the greatest expedition,” said Case.

For her capstone project, Clemmer worked with the Virginia Cattlemen’s Association to create a youth membership.

“With that, that allows them to network, grow, and get a lot of valuable experiences,” said Clemmer.

With the help of the Hokie nation, she is trying to inspire the next generation of farmers.

“With agriculture, that is my past, that is my future,” explained Clemmer. “And I hope we can continue to grow a more sustainable future within the United States.”