Southern Agricultural Center of Excellence
The Southern Agricultural Center of Excellence will align students with the resources of academic institutions and industry to develop and sustain the workforce needs of agriculture in Southern Minnesota.
The Southern Agricultural Center of Excellence will serve as a dominate force in the promotion of education in agriculture and agricultural careers, aligning colleges and curriculums across the region.
Megan Roberts is the Executive Director of the Minnesota State Southern Agricultural Center of Excellence. The Center is a collaborative effort across southern Minnesota to engage industry, inspire students, and enhance education in agriculture. In her role, Megan is committed to supporting ag educators and providing high school, post-secondary, and farm business management students with high-quality learning experiences that prepare them for the diverse agriculture, food, and natural resource careers of today and tomorrow.
Previously, Megan served as an Extension educator in Agricultural Business Management at University of Minnesota Extension in the Mankato Regional Office. She focused on farm transition and estate planning, farmer resiliency, and ag policy. Prior to that, she served as Agribusiness faculty at South Central College, teaching post-secondary agribusiness courses and advising students in the Post Secondary Agriculture Student (PAS) Organization.
Megan's educational background includes a B.S. in Plant Science and an M.S in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (emphasizing Agricultural Policy) from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and a doctorate in Agricultural Education from a joint program of Texas A&M and Texas Tech Universities. She also obtained post grad certificates in Teaching and Learning, as well as Financial Planning. Megan's roots in agriculture come from growing up on a dairy farm in central Minnesota that her family still operates. She now lives on a farrow-to-finish hog and crop farm in rural Madelia with her husband and son. Her greatest joy is bringing up her son with an appreciation for food and agriculture, along with what it means to be a good friend and neighbor.
Nathan is the Program Coordinator for the Minnesota State Southern Agricultural Center of Excellence and grew up on a family farm in rural Mankato. His family was in the popcorn business, Hanel Popcorn, and he was an active part of all aspects of the operation until his dad retired in 2007. As a kid, he was in 4-H and the Lake Crystal Saddle Club and couldn’t wait to get home from school and help out on the farm. Nathan also has had horses from an early age and one of his favorite activities is camping and trail riding with friends. Over the years, he’s ridden his horse in 8 different states.
Not far from home, Nathan graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College earning a B.A. in organizational management. A few years later, he attended Concordia University, St. Paul and graduated with a M.A. in organizational management. Over the past 20 years, Nathan has been in leadership roles in customer service and technical support in the printing, telecommunications and publishing industries.
Presently, Nathan enjoys living on his family farm and is an active volunteer within our community. He is a board member for Junior Achievement and also serves on committees for GreenSeam, Farmamerica as well as an AFNR advisory member for Mankato Area Public Schools. He also helped establish the Mankato FFA Alumni and Supporters chapter in support of Mankato FFA.
Nathan is proud to share his passion and enthusiasm for ag education!
Shyanne Rodning is the Outreach and Recruitment Coordinator for the Minnesota State Southern Agricultural Center of Excellence. Shyanne enjoys advocating for agriculture and interacting with students, in hopes of helping them find their passion in Agriculture too.
Shyanne grew up on a family farm in rural Nicollet. Her passion for agriculture started at an early age, while riding in the buddy seat of the tractors. Later, she enjoyed assisting with everyday tasks on the farm. She fell in love with Agriculture, from the beginning, and knew she wanted to make a career out of it.
She was an active 4H and FFA member growing up, which molded her advocacy skills. Shyanne followed her passion and received a degree at the University of Wisconsin River Falls in Crop and Soil Science. During college, she was an active member of the UWRF Crops and Soil Science club which allowed her to participate in multiple independent research studies, including a project in which she inoculated corn smut. This granted her the opportunity to travel across the country to present her findings while gaining even more knowledge in the field of Agriculture.
After college, Shyanne returned home to co-manage the family farm while continuing to advocate and share the passion she has for Agriculture. You will find her sharing her love and passion for Agriculture wherever she goes, even while she is riding one of horses or relaxing around the campfire with family.