Seed World

Ariel Wiegard Says a Successful Career Isn’t Always Linear

Ariel Wiegard

Ariel Wiegard, director of government affairs at the American Soybean Association (ASA), says her love of agriculture started thanks to an opportunity at an early job. She was able to take master’s courses in environmental law and policy, and although a passion for food led her to start taking classes in food law, she quickly ran out of classes.

“Instead, I signed up for my first of many agriculture classes, and was instantly hooked,” Wiegard says. “The range of issues facing ag, and the diversity within the industry, are fascinating. I knew right away my next job would somehow be tied to ag.”

From there, she bounced to a hunting and fishing policy organization, where she ran their agriculture and private lands conservation program. It was here that she got to know some of the major players in ag policy before transitioning into a role as government relations lead at Syngenta. However, this year, she knew it was time to make a move that combined her dedication to both agriculture and conservation.

“When an opportunity opened at ASA to lead their conservation and precision ag portfolio — right when climate change was becoming the hot topic in D.C., with farmers at the center of the conversation — I knew it was the right time to make a move,” Wiegard says. “Maintaining farmers’ ability to freely choose their seeds when facing increasing droughts, flooding, temperature variations, or pest pressures, is an important part of the climate policy discussion.”

Wiegard says many lawmakers in D.C. don’t know or appreciate that it’s imperative that growers have access to the latest innovations. Because of that, she says there’s a lot of educating to do!

For any aspiring, young leaders, Wiegard says know that a successful career path isn’t always linear.

“Sometimes it meanders and takes you in unexpected directions — with amazing results,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to go with the flow!”

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