Asher Horcher: Agriculture is not for the Faint of Heart
For Young Leader Group member Asher Horcher, agriculture is not for the faint of heart. The entire world depends on agriculture. If you wear clothing, eat food, use cash, drive a car, have the privilege of living in a stationary home, then you depend on agriculture along with billions of other people world-wide. Agriculture is what makes society possible. Agriculture is the most consistent U.S. export and is the foundation of what keeps this country relevant in the global economy.
Choosing a career in agriculture can mean big changes and it can mean small change. It also doesn’t have to mean becoming a farmer, but it absolutely means the chance to positively impact the world. By choosing a career in ag someone could take part in developing a new variety of rice that means the difference between life and death for hundreds of millions of people in Southeast Asia, or they could operate a farm and employ. The only way civilization can go on and feed the amount of people on the planet is with the involvement of more people who care about feeding the future and doing so sustainably.
For Horcher, her path in agriculture, began as a child at her father’s greenhouse. The Horcher family farm has been in the family for 172 years and is the only remaining farm in an urban town of 40,000 people. In addition to offering bedding and vegetable plants in the spring, they also operate a farm stand and sell vegetables at area farmers markets.
Horcher’s path was also shaped by watching and listening to village meetings. Throughout her childhood, her dad and grandfather served as elected officials for the municipality. Even as a youth, Horcher would try to navigate logic and reason behind officials’ decisions. Horcher quickly realized that appearances and emotions rather than logic drove many decisions and for farmers this was of grave concern since so many elected officials reside in urban areas rather than on farms. This realization drove her educational journey.
Horcher’s journey was also derived from her involvement in Farm Bureau. As a teen, Horcher would travel with her dad to Farm Bureau lobbying events. Together, they would attend breakout sessions on pertinent subjects before lobbying and educating Cook County Senators and Representatives. Like a handful of her peers, she was among the founding members of the Cook County Farm Bureau® Young Leaders Group.
In addition to being an active member of the Young Leaders Group, Horcher is a full-time law student at the UIC John Marshall Law School and is expected to graduate in the spring of 2021. She also holds an undergraduate degree in agriculture and political science. She plans to practice agricultural law and become more involved in politics.
When asked what Horcher would tell a younger version of herself, her advice focused on thinking long-term. “I would tell a young me to be more involved in clubs, and after school activities. To appreciate down time and not having financial obligations. That my parents were right about saving as much money as possible from my farmers markets and work because life is expensive when you don’t live at home and having the cool new hoodie now means a smaller down payment for a home later. Think about how everything you do now will impact everything you do later, and if you post something online, it is there forever.”