Collin Swedberg, 21, of North Platte is a big advocate for agriculture. He is a full-time summer intern for the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, where he is making arrangements for an institute that will help over 200 students prepare to be agricultural leaders themselves.
One of the students attending the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute this year will be Swedberg’s younger brother, Micah, a 2019 graduate of Wallace High School.
Collin Swedberg got the internship at NDA largely because he is a head counselor for Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council, an important advocacy organization of NDA.
“He’s been a wonderful asset to the department,” said Christin Kamm, NAYC adviser and public information officer for NDA.
Swedberg attended NAYI himself a few years ago. He said his interest started with his older brother Landon, who attended NAYI and “had a great time.” Landon then “went to college (at UNL) and applied for NAYC and got on.”
Kamm said Landon, who was on NAYC in 2014-17 “was also my intern,” and she really appreciates both brothers.
NAYC is composed of Nebraskans typically 18-20 years old who are passionate about agriculture and have other leadership qualities.
After graduation from Wallace High School, Collin also enrolled at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and was accepted into NAYC as a sophomore in 2017. He and Hannah Settje of Raymond were named NAYC head counselors for 2018-19.
Swedberg said all the members of NAYC appreciate the opportunity to promote agriculture. They go into elementary schools in Lincoln and tell students where their food comes from. Later, they join the students at farms where the youngsters get real hands-on education. They would do that all over the state if they could, Swedberg said.
NAYC also helps with the Governor’s Ag Conference in Kearney in March. Their biggest activity of the year is NAYI.
Swedberg is studying agriculture education and plans to become a high school teacher.
Teaching and agriculture run in the family. His father, Ralph, farms near North Platte, and his mother, LaDonna, teaches school in Wallace.
Collin’s oldest brother, Riley, is a math teacher at Minden High School, sister Tarassa taught in Grand Island and is now a substitute teacher in Hastings. Their brother Lane teaches math at Madison Middle School in North Platte. Landon is now a loan officer for Great Western Bank in North Platte.
NAYI is a really big deal, Collin said. Many businesses and organizations sponsor it so the current or recently graduated high schoolers can attend free of charge. Students participate in leadership training and learn from ag industry professionals and commodity organizations.
After NAYI, Swedberg will help to prepare for new members who will join NAYC with the start of the next school year. Then Swedberg’s term will end.
He will enter his senior year at UNL in August and already has a student teaching job lined up for next spring at West Holt High School in Atkinson. He said he is excited and admitted that thinking about it is “a little nerve-wracking.”
For now, though, he has other things to concentrate on. He is working to make sure many high schoolers have a wonderful experience at NAYI July 8-12.