CALS Alumna Combines Love for Agriculture and Communication
An interest in communications and an appreciation for agriculture led Katie Hartman to pursue a degree in agricultural science, communication and leadership (ASCL) from the University of Idaho. The Parma native graduated from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences in 2014.
Life after Graduation
After graduation, Hartman spent nearly a year with Enviroissues in Boise, working on communication and outreach projects for environmental groups. She worked on the Gateway West Transmission Line Project, sending out mailers, newsletters and drafting content for public meetings.
In September 2015 she accepted her current position as crop insurance specialist for Northwest Farm Credit Services, based out of Nampa.
In this position, Hartman is responsible for all mailings related to crop insurance. She keeps track of federal deadlines, such as acreage reporting and production reporting dates, and sends paperwork out to growers. She then checks submission forms to ensure accuracy.
“This is something I’m more interested in because I like the background in agriculture, and working with farmers and the agricultural industry is very rewarding,” Hartman said.
Hartman also enjoys the people she works with at Northwest Farm Credit Services and the company’s involvement in the local community.
“We give back a lot, which I think is very important,” Hartman said. “We have a certain amount of days each year that we are able to use to give back to the community — actually leave work and volunteer and I love that.”
Journey to Moscow
Hartman grew up wearing Vandal gear and taking trips to Moscow for football games. Her father and grandmother both attended UI and her older brother graduated with a degree in agricultural systems management.
“I attended Idaho because it was in-state and that was important to my family,” Hartman said. “The town I grew up in has a lot — a lot — of pride for the university so it was a pretty obvious choice.”
When Hartman arrived at UI, she wasn’t set on a major, but a discussion with her advisor led to the agricultural science, communication and leadership degree.
“I really liked the ASCL option because it incorporated all the things I was passionate about,” Hartman said. “I never wanted to be a farmer, but I have a huge appreciation for all that entails.”
The community feel of the university and Agricultural and Extension Education Department were especially important to Hartman during her time in Moscow.
“There are some really exciting things going on in AEE,” Hartman said. “It’s a smaller department, so you get to know everybody. If you have an idea, there’s going to be someone there to support you. It’s a very creative place with people willing to help make dreams come true.”
Hartman’s appreciation for agriculture stems from her family heritage. Her family has been farming in Parma for 124 years. Hartman and her brother are the fifth generation. The family was recently featured in a traveling exhibit by the Smithsonian’s American History Museum.
“People always ask me why I still live in Parma and love it so much,” Hartman said. “To me, it’s cool to have that tie to something. Not a lot of people feel a tie to a section of dirt, but to me, its home.”
Although Hartman’s journey after college has only just begun, it seems likely that she will pursue a future in the agriculture industry.
“To me, there is such an underappreciation for farmers and agriculture,” she said. “I think part of the problem is that there is a lack of people that are educated about agriculture and willing to get out in the world and talk about agriculture to reach an audience that comes from a very different place than farmers and ranchers.”