New Agrarian Voices

Learn about the impressions and experiences of each year's cohort of apprentices in their own words.





Izzy Pignolet, APPRENTICE, Pratt Livestock

How did you get interested in agriculture? And what are you hoping to gain from your apprenticeship?
May 2024

I didn’t grow up in a family that was very interested in agriculture, but it was all around us. I think my gateway into agriculture was a fierce obsession with horses by the time I was two. My love of horses evolved into a love of all animals when I attended a Monterssori style farm camp. I rode my whole life, but I always loved farms and being around animals. I thought I wanted to be a vet, so I went to college and realized that I am not cut out for science classes. I switched my major to Environmental Studies, and during a 101 class, we took a field trip to a dairy farm, where I spent the whole trip convincing my friends to pet the calves and try milking the cows. The owner offered me a job, and I ended up working as a calf feeder for three years. The disconnect between what I saw from the farmer I worked with and what we were learning in class really got me interested in learning more about how the agricultural system works in our world. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to live for a semester in Montespertoli, Italy, where we visited a multitude of farms while studying UN Ag policy and the history of Italian agriculture. After I graduated, I wanted to have one fun summer before I got my life together, so I ended up working on a guest ranch in Jackson Hole as a wrangler. One summer turned into 5, and I ended up managing the horse herd my last season. My experience in Wyoming brought me to love the mountain west, but made me very aware of how much I needed to learn about ranching!

I started thinking more about my future and had been having a strong urge to live in one place for longer than six months, so when I found the NAP Program I was overjoyed – here is an opportunity to build my skills and my knowledge from someone that cares about the planet and their animals! I have many hopes for my apprenticeship. I am hoping to grow my toolbox for my marketability, but also for my own personal life and my future home. I am hoping to grow my confidence in myself so I get less “start paralysis” when faced with new challenges (and I am already seeing that!) I hope to learn more about grass, vetting, stockmanship, horsemanship, how cattle drives work, challenges of rangeland grazing, and so much more. I want to be considerably more fluent in cattle (I am at the point when I can immediately feel that I messed up communicating with them but I would like to skip that step in the future). I’m looking forward to learning about the things I don’t even know exist yet! I am also hoping that I am always able to find the fun in daily tasks.

More Voices