By Melea Reicks Licht
Dubbed "Prince Farming," Chris Soules ('04 agronomy, ag studies) is the next bachelor on ABC's "The Bachelor" to premiere Jan. 5. The reality television show pairs contestants in a series of dates with the final contestant selected by Soules with a promise of marriage.
Soules, a farmer and farm manager with Summit Farms, has used his notoriety for agricultural advocacy in promotional tours around the world.
What do you hope people learn from you about modern agriculture?
The majority of modern farming is still run as a family business. The people who run those family businesses are not just farmers, they are also business people who have a lot of pride in what they do.
What is the biggest challenge facing farmers today? The biggest opportunity?
As the number of farmers continues to decline, the number people who understand where their food actually comes from declines as well. I think we, as farmers, need to be more proactive in educating the country and the world about how we do things and that the American farmer produces the safest and best products in the world. The biggest opportunity is that the world population is predicted to skyrocket, which will create many opportunities for not only the American farmer, but young people looking to get into the farming business.
What's the most common or striking misconception you've encountered about Iowa or agriculture?
One common misconception is that farming today is all done by large corporations.
How has your degree and experience at Iowa State University influenced your life or equipped you in your career?
My degree at Iowa State was critical to my success. Not only did my education give me the tools to be successful, but it also allowed me to bring knowledge and skills back to the family farm and help us take things to another level.
For the record, are you really a Hawkeye fan?
I grew up cheering for the Hawks and had three older sisters who graduated from there. So I am a Hawkeye fan, but I also cheer for the Cyclones and am a fan of them as well.
THE BACHELOR - Chris Soules, the stylish farmer from Iowa, stars in the 19th edition of ABC's hit romance reality series, "The Bachelor," which returns to ABC in January 2015.(Photo: ABC/Matthew Putney)