In our fourth career snapshot, Deputy Secretary Cynthia Edwards with the Arkansas Agriculture Department, talks to students about working on the policy side of the agriculture industry.
Cynthia grew up in DeWitt, Arkansas but she did not live on one of the farms surrounding the city. She learned a lot about farming by listening to her father, who was a Farm Bureau insurance agent. He often talked about farm issues and policies around the house.
She graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in three and a half years. She then went on to law school at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and followed it up with one year in an agricultural law degree program.
After graduating law school, Cynthia began work as an Account Executive at an agricultural law firm in Little Rock where she interacted with farmers on a daily basis, helping them solve the problems they encountered. She decided to pursue this career opportunity before knowing exactly what she would be doing. She considered herself a good fit for the firm and told herself that she would learn on the job.
"…that's really the key, just being willing to learn and to work hard."
Cynthia now serves as the Deputy Secretary of the Arkansas Agriculture Department where their mission is to develop policies and programs that help farmers and ranchers stay competitive and provide safe food for the state and nation. To accomplish this mission, and to make sure farmers' needs are met, Cynthia works with the Congressional Delegation and the State Legislature.
"It really takes a special person to be a farmer."