A Voice for a Misunderstood Industry

“Lauren Prine proudly stands in front of the organization who helped her find her voice.”

Lauren Prine has built a career based on her passion for helping others and being an advocate for the Texas corn industry. As education and producer relations director at Texas Corn Producers, Lauren implements new farmer education programs and has developed the new agricultural science teacher scholarship program. The scholarship is designed to help ag teachers financially during their student teaching assignment.

“Currently we are only working with Texas Tech, West Texas A&M, Tarleton State, and Texas A&M with the ag teacher scholarship,” Lauren said.

Where does the love come from?

Lauren’s passion and love for animals and agriculture started when she was a young girl helping her grandfather work cows on his ranch.

“My grandfather is the only person and only reason I’m passionate about agriculture,” Lauren said. “He taught me how to fix fences and do anything and everything.”

Lauren grew up in a small town north of San Antonio. One of her distant family members was an early settler in Texas, and to this day, her family still owns and ranches the land.

She fulfilled her devotion to agriculture in high school by being involved in FFA and 4-H projects and showing livestock. Through these activities, Lauren’s high school ag teachers inspired her to become an ag teacher to educate today’s youth about agriculture and make a difference in their lives.

Learning from the Best

After high school, Lauren attended Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Services and Development and a minor in Horticultural Science. Lauren said her horticulture professor’s teaching style led to her choice in minor.

“Dr. Wade’s passion for plants carried over to me and made me passionate about plants,” Lauren said. “His enthusiasm was contagious, his classroom was always upbeat, and he was always looking for fun, interactive ways to learn.”

Throughout Lauren’s life, she has had several ag teachers heavily influence and fuel her love for agriculture.

“Even though as educators we don’t know the impact we’re going to have on our students, we still have the opportunity to,” said Dr. Randy Harp, Lauren’s high school ag teacher.

Lauren worked all the way through college. However, like many college students, while Lauren was busy student teaching she had no time for a part-time job. This is why Lauren feels the ag teacher scholarship is so important.

“I had to pay for college, so all I did was go to class and bust my butt and go to work and bust my butt to try and pay for everything,” Lauren said.

After graduating college, Lauren taught high school agriculture at Byron P. Steele in Cibolo, Texas under Samuel Clemens FFA chapter.  While Teaching high school ag, Lauren taught a wide variety of classes. Later Lauren moved and taught in Petersburg, Texas. After teaching for one year in the small West Texas town, Lauren developed a love for the South Plains.

“There’s people in that town that mean the world to me,” Lauren said. “They truly took care of me and made me feel like one of their own.”

The Next Chapter

After three job offers to be an ag teacher in West Texas, Lauren felt she was meant to do something different. She applied to TCPB on a whim, which led her to realize the opportunity of impacting teachers.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Lauren said.

This new chapter in her life remolded the South Texas girl into a red-dirt loving, West Texas girl. Lauren searched for jobs in Lubbock because she said she remembered how loved and welcomed she felt in Petersburg.

“Everyone up there, in and around Lubbock, is so agriculturally driven,” Lauren said. “The people truly are different up there.”

“I felt like this job was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing,” Lauren said. “I can make an impact on students, but if I can make an impact on the teachers who impact students, that will be extraordinary.”

Lauren said her love for the area extends beyond the friendly people and says she enjoys seeing farmers’ fields daily as she drives.

“People don’t understand what a farmer does on a daily basis,” Lauren said. “I think it’s an amazing fact to be able to drive down a road every day seeing farmers crops succeed with farmer’s love and attention, along with seeing and understanding the heartbreak farmers go through when their crops become damaged due to issues out of their control like weather. I don’t know, that’s pretty cool to me.”

Lauren loves the ability to make twice the impact by educating peers and giving them the tools and skills to impact their students.

Lauren’s Success

Lauren has now been the education and producer relations director at Texas Corn Producers Board since May 2017. Before Lauren was hired on at TCPB, the position didn’t include her current duties. Lauren said many agricultural commodity groups don’t have educationally focused positions, which contributes to her love for TCPB.

While working at TCPB, Lauren said she found her voice.

“I think we’re starting to learn that by keeping our mouths shut, we let the other people have our voice.”

“Sometimes our voices aren’t as big as they could be,” Lauren said. “I don’t think it’s necessarily because we’re afraid to speak.”

“I don’t know anyone in the industry that is afraid to speak up,” Lauren said. “I just think we’re reserved individuals, and we’re keeping our heads down and doing our job with passion in our heart for the better of everybody thinking everybody is going to see that.”

Lauren said each of the programs produced by TCPB stems from the original desire to educate others about the importance of agriculture.

“It’s a great thing to have passion and want to do a good job,” Lauren said. “Along with a want to create a good product, but nowadays it takes much more.”

Lauren appreciates TCPB for introducing her to a career that fuels her fire. Lauren says TCPB takes initiative to gain new communication practices.

“I think TCPB does an amazing job at keeping up with new communication efforts,” Lauren said.

She is continually in search of new ways to educate others about agriculture. She feels it is important for agricultural educators to start standing our own ground if we want to be heard.

“As agriculturists, we almost always assume everybody knows where their food and clothes come from,” Lauren said. “However, that is the not the case anymore. Today most generations are at least 3 to even more removed from the farm. It’s important for agriculturists to use their voice to educate the uneducated. If we do not use our voice, then voices of the unknowledgeable will be heard over the truth.  I hope to impact knowledge of agriculture and to employ our farmers to be the voice of reason in this crazy new world we live in. For no one could live without agriculture!”

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