UNOH Grad Gives Back through Miss Agriculture USA

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2021


Melissa Harrop, UNOH Grad and Miss Agriculture USA (center)

Written by Contributing Columnist Chance Holley

UNOH alumni Melissa Harrop is no stranger to success. In addition to owning her own business, Meadow Creek Livestock, Melissa has been crowned the 2021 Runner Up Elite Miss Agriculture USA. Miss Agriculture USA is a non-profit organization which seeks to promote and celebrate agriculture through its efforts.

Melissa originally became involved with the Miss Agriculture USA organization through her daughter, 2021 Petite Miss Agriculture USA Ellie Harrop. “Last year Ellie said ‘Mom can you do something with me? Like a mom and daughter thing.’ And I can’t say no when she bats her eyelashes, so I said yes,” explained Melissa. “We went to Nationals in Ohio in June and we won, so she is the 2021 National Petite Miss Agriculture USA and I am the 2021 National Runner Up Elite Miss Agriculture USA.”

Melissa continued, “In our roles we get to go around to all sorts of different venues, like the National FFA Convention, to talk to people about how great ag is. It’s fun for me because I get to watch my daughter and all of these other queens that we’ve become family with blossom, grow, and learn good public speaking skills.”

Melissa graduated from UNOH in 2017 with her Associate degree in Agribusiness. Melissa credits UNOH for her current success in the retail beef industry, “My agribusiness degree was imperative in helping me own a business in the ag world” she said. “I raise dairy beef and I sell it as individual cuts for retail purchase. I’m raising dairy steers until full growth capacity, but I’m also doing all the behind the scenes work. My Agribusiness degree helped form that marketing, paperwork and accounting background that is crucial in running a business”.

UNOH is a family affair for the Harrops, as Melissa’s husband Paul graduated in 2008 with his Associate degree in Agricultural Equipment Technology. Paul is currently using his degree as the owner of Paul’s Ag Shop which specializes in agricultural equipment repair.

Melissa chose to earn her degree remotely by attending UNOH’s online classes which enabled her to pursue an education while caring for her family and farm. “The online degree program was exactly what I was looking for as a full-time farmer, a mom, and a wife. I needed the flexibility the online classes provided.” Going into the program Melissa had some reservations about an online degree, but she quickly found that UNOH provided all she wanted and more, “As an adult learner coming into the virtual college atmosphere, I was worried that taking classes online wouldn’t feel like a real college degree or a real college experience, but it turned out to be the exact opposite. The online college classes at UNOH were absolutely amazing. The professors were easy to get ahold of and I had discussions with my classmates daily. We got to know each other very well.”

When UNOH staff ran into Melissa at the 2021 National FFA Convention, Melissa expressed gratitude for the effect UNOH has had on her family, “Honestly I think we’re all connected. UNOH, Miss Agriculture, farmers, we are all here for each other and it’s one big family. Being able to come here to the National FFA Convention and see my alma mater is amazing because of how important UNOH is to our family. My oldest son chose not to go to college out of high school, but UNOH is a place he is looking at when he gets out of the Marines because he wants a career in something he enjoys like agriculture. I have a sixteen-year-old son who is looking at the college and will be taking a tour of campus soon. My daughter knows how important UNOH is to us. Agriculture and UNOH will always be a part of this family” said Melissa.

Category: Applied Technologies, Campus & Community

Keywords: Miss Agriculture USA, FFA, Agribusiness

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Last updated: 12/20/2021