The daughter of schoolteachers, Maggie Jo Hansen experienced farm life on a smaller scale, selling produce to small businesses, even some fruits and vegetables to Silver Dollar City, and raising livestock. However, her parents always encouraged her to go to college.
At the University of Arkansas, Maggie Jo majored in agricultural communications and agribusiness before earning her master’s in agricultural policy and communications in 2016.
While pursuing her bachelor’s, Maggie Jo interned in Belgium and Scotland, helping these highly populated European countries create ag communications plans and develop the necessary materials. After she returned to the States to complete her degree, she landed in the International Programs Office, helping build international programs for university students.
During her time in Europe, Maggie Jo realized how much deeper she wanted the connection to her roots to go.
After she earned her masters and the search for her next role was complete, Maggie Jo started in the Local Grain Services program, working directly with buyers from 35 feed mills to buy grain, including a lot of soybean meal.
Maggie Jo’s office is located in Springdale, Arkansas, but she has relationships with more than 1,200 farmers and their families beyond the city limits as she works directly with buyers and her director to identify the best opportunities for buying grain and establishing themselves within the various communities.
When she isn’t managing paid advertisements or overseeing a strategic marketing plan, Maggie Jo is visiting those farmers in various communities and hosting dinners, attending trade shows and sponsoring association and extension meetings as much as possible.
To Maggie Jo, that’s what her job really is, building relationships and locating resources to open doors and help people in many ways. And if you ask her where she saw herself working after college, she’ll laugh.
“Three to four years ago, I sat in my commodities class and thought, “Well, I’ll never do this. This is just beyond me,” and I couldn’t see myself being anywhere else now,” Maggie Jo said. “What I love about my job is that I can’t sit still [in my job] because there’s so much to be done and there’s always new opportunities.”
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