Seamus House credits his passion for agriculture to his upbringing in Waitsburg, Washington, his associate degree in plant and soil science from Walla Walla Community College (WWCC), and a job shadow opportunity with The McGregor Company. Those experiences led him to the University of Idaho, where he is studying crop science and management and minoring in agribusiness and plant protection.
While attending WWCC, House job shadowed with Cody Appleford, an account manager for the Waitsburg McGregor branch. The experience is what truly launched his journey into his current educational and professional pursuits.
“It just kind of clicked. I went, this is pretty cool. This is what I want to do,” he said.
House was drawn to U of I because of the Western Undergraduate Exchange scholarship program and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. He is also a third generation Vandal and enjoys having that legacy. House is involved in the Collegiate Young Farmers and Ranchers club and Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity.
His education at U of I has taught House the reasons behind agricultural production practices and how decisions are made.
“Instead of just saying, ‘Oh okay, you’ve got weeds growing spray it with some Glyphosphate, or you know that’s a broadleaf, spray it with this because it’s a broadleaf killer,’ now I actually understand more the molecular level or the modes of actions. How it kills that weed or how this fertilizer impacts how nitrogen is actually transferred up through the plant,” he said.
House has already discovered how his experiences at U of I will translate into his future and be applicable daily. He currently works as a service technician for McGregor with both the Blue Mountain Team and South Palouse Team. He works for the company year around and has been able to pair his education with his daily tasks.
“Almost everything that I do, I can correlate back into what I do at McGregor. Coincidentally, a lot of my classes that I am taking, like my final projects and those kind of research projects, I’ve been able to piggyback off my resources at McGregor,” he said. “I’m able to go in, sit with some of the agronomists and just talk it out. It definitely helps me get better grades that way but then taking the class and actually working there I’m able to apply it.”
House treats each week like a full-time job. During the school year he works out of the Genesee McGregor plant. Each day he makes sure he is busy from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. whether it’s classes or work.
His daily work schedule varies upon the season. Winter is one of their slower seasons, which means House is working on equipment in the shop rather than directly with farmers. In fall and spring there are more interactions with farmers, which means that work sometimes starts as early as 5 a.m. and House often works six to seven days a week.
House works hard to balance the demands of his courses with his job obligations, but he makes sure that school always comes first. An important lesson he has learned is how to say no, so that he can prioritize his responsibilities.
House will graduate in December 2023 and start full-time with McGregor on the fast-track program.
“Where I’ve worked for the company and done a little bit of junior agronomy type stuff, it may be a little shorter than that,” he said. “But essentially, I’ll go around to our locations and work with each agronomist because everyone does stuff a little bit differently. You learn about what farmers like as well, because not all farmers are going to like the same system. Once I complete that program, I’ll be placed at whatever job opening there is for agronomists in the company.”
Article by Hannah Ruth Pettyjohn, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Photos provided by Seamus House
Published in April 2023