My name is Austin Ator and I from the town of Pittsfield, Illinois. Pittsfield is a small farming town and I consider myself blessed to have been raised in a community that is centered on agriculture. I was even more fortunate to have grown up on my family’s corn and soybean farm. This is where my passion and love for agriculture came about and I decided to pursue a career in the agriculture industry. I am currently a Senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Technical Systems Management with a minor in Agribusiness Management at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My goal is to use my degree after graduation to help make the farming process as easy as possible for farmers and aid in the further advancement of the agriculture industry.
This past year I was very fortunate to have been selected as a GFAI Scholarship recipient with I am beyond grateful for. I am honored to have been chosen as a scholarship winner through the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois and greatly appreciate all of the opportunities that the scholarship has and will continue to provide to me and the other recipients. One of my favorite parts of being a recipient was attending the Industry Immersion Tour during the summer of 2020. I really enjoyed the tour as it was a very eye-opening experience that gave me a better understanding of the grain handling process from beginning to finish. A specific memory of the tour was getting to tour the Peoria lock and dam. Most people would not think of the river system as part of the grain industry, yet it plays a vital role in grain transportation and having been able to go on this tour really helped to develop my appreciation of the expansiveness of the grain industry. The GFAI Scholarship program has also provided me with the opportunity to job shadow a local grain elevator during the fall and spring semesters. I look forward to completing my job shadows and sharing my experiences in the spring.