Alison Durheim has made impact in the Ag world since she was a kid - but in college she's truly found her voice in a world she loves.
It didn’t make sense to her.
This was what she wanted to learn; what she wanted to be since she was a kid.
Nonetheless, a then-sophomore Alison Durheim sat in a lecture hall in an animal veterinary class at South Dakota State University - she felt disconnected and disinterested at what she was learning.
It didn’t make sense.
Alison had wanted to be an animal veterinarian ever since she grew up on a St. James Farms, surrounded by goats, chickens, turkeys, and rabbits.
After working with Boer goats and cattle - what soon was ordinary life became a fervent hobby for Alison. She became a 4-H lifer and Federation president, and her work and passion for agriculture led her to travel to nation’s capital to be a representative.
“I started as a pre-vet then switched to animal science because I was determined to make something happen with animal science and my experience of working with animals,” said Durheim.
Yet, for all the prowess Alison had in the pre-veterinary field, her heart wasn’t in it.
Her heart, her passion, however, was in agriculture - and she knew as much.
But, suddenly in a newsprint writing class in her sophomore year, Alison found a way to combine her two passions.
That one class illuminated Alison with a new desire to combine her lifelong passion for agriculture with her professional passion for storytelling.
“I loved it,” she said. “I love sharing my passion for agriculture through my stories, and telling other’s stories about agriculture.”
Soon, Alison found herself a second home in Yeager Hall, which houses SDSU’s journalism and communications department.
After tacking on Ag Communication as a major and while keeping Animal Science as a minor, Alison soon herself pursuing ‘the gap.’
“The option of the gap is being a bridge or a voice between the producers and the consumers,” said Alison. “There needs to be that person.”
Agricultural communications represents a shift in the perception in the agriculture industry.
What was once thought of as an insider's game for ruralites, is now an environment which allows agricultural information to span different channels and mediums.
That environment is where Alison found her voice.
2017 was a banner year for Alison, as she started her journey as a multimedia journalist as a reporter for Jacks Weekly News, SDSU Collegian, and a summer internship with South Dakota-based KSFY-TV.
In each role, Durheim would pitch ideas and present the hidden trends and subtle nuances of the agriculture market.
“It’s about how to get the stories that impact the agricultural industry for better or worse into the mainstream,” said Durheim.
As May approaches, and the days till graduation wind down, Durheim has left an indelible mark on her college.
She’s had a huge role in SDSU’s Ag Day, she’s written, produced and covered multiple agricultural stories - she’s certainly found her voice.
While certainly a dreaded question for most college seniors who are hastily preparing resumes and demo reels, Alison doesn’t fear the dreaded question of “What’s next?” as she puts a bow on her collegiate life.
“I know I want to be a multimedia journalist and I want to see where that takes me,” she said confidently. “But I know wherever I’ll go, I’m going to be a strong voice for agriculture.”