It stood out like a water puddle in California. In the stack of the day’s mail was a handwritten envelope. Not printed to look handwritten; but gloriously imperfect, sans alignment and uniform letter size. It was a thank-you note from Christian Good, the winner of the Wayne Bollum Memorial Scholarship, administered by the National Agri-Marketing Association. His note revealed a resounding reminder that future leaders are on their game. It was also assurance that we’re in good hands for the long term.
A Macon, Mississippi, native, Christian is majoring in agribusiness management with a minor in business administration and economics at Mississippi State University. These studies are natural. As early as second grade, Christian traded candy, food, pencils, even prizes he won for something of more value – “most of the time for a few dollars,” he says.
Ever aware of the need for more dollars, Christian’s thank-you note mentioned that this scholarship benefitted him and his family. The latter is the inspiration that helps him set and achieve goals.
“My father, Phillip, instilled the importance of faith while teaching me the ins and outs of agricultural business and entrepreneurship,” Christian says. “My mother, Janelle, showed me the importance of networking and serving others. My sister, Abby, demonstrates the positive impact a true friend has on someone’s life. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.”
He’s going strong and in the midst of an internship with Bunge, an agribusiness and food company. Before summer ends, Christian will have worked in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri. He’ll have participated in jobs from safety audits to market hedging to exports.
Yet, his story remains the same and solid.
“I’m a sixth-generation farmer with big goals and ambitions,” Christian says. “My family and faith are the most important things in my life. I hope to make a difference in others’ lives through agriculture and business.
“Demand for agricultural products is growing with the increasing world population. Markets are becoming more connected. More countries are opening to commodity trade. The challenge to ending hunger is to create the supply to meet the demand. For a business professional, this is the opportunity to succeed in this industry.”
Christian’s note underscores his honesty and appreciation for being honored. It is fitting, as well. I had the privilege of knowing and working with Wayne Bollum and have a handwritten note he sent me in the 1990s. I had the honor of working with others who knew him to help establish this memorial scholarship.
It is a tribute to Wayne that Christian’s story will be the first in a series that helps ensure agriculture’s future remains in good hands. His story will not be the last.