MANRRS student leader says diversity will strengthen ag industry
Harrison Goode is vice president of the University of Kentucky chapter of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences and a member of the university’s saddle seat equestrian team. (Photo: Blakley Releford)
By Amy Sitze
Harrison Goode will never forget the day he found his life’s calling.
He was about 10 years old and had finally given in to his mother’s insistence that he try a horseback riding lesson — even though he’d repeatedly told her he would never ride a horse “because it was boring and dumb,” he recalls, laughing.
“I went once and fell in love with it, and I was immersed in everything horse starting then,” says Goode, who grew up in Winston-Salem, N.C.
In exchange for weekly riding lessons, he cleaned stalls, groomed horses, taught lessons and did other barn chores. He also got to know the trainers, who talked to him about their jobs and deepened his interest in working with horses.
Now a junior at the University of Kentucky, Goode is vice president of the university’s chapter of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS), an organization supported by the CHS Foundation. He received the MANRRS CHS Gold Scholarship his freshman year and immediately became involved in the campus chapter, where he found “people that look like me and have similar interests,” he says. “People in MANRRS have many different majors, but we all come together because ag is tied into everything.”
Like Goode, many MANRRS members grew up in a city or suburb and discovered an interest in agriculture later in life.
Goode sees diversity as one way to make the ag industry better and stronger. “Sometimes there’s that one person who’s different and whose mind is immediately seeing something new that you may have skipped over a hundred times because you’re not thinking that way,” he says. “You need people who think differently, and they may not look like you. Change like that can be scary, but it’s necessary.”
In addition to his leadership role in MANRRS, Goode has continued riding as part of the university’s saddle seat equestrian team. His love of horses — and animals in general — has led him to consider equine law as a career option.
“I want to be an advocate for horses because they can’t speak for themselves,” he says. “We have to do a better job of taking care of our animals.”
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