CALS Lecture

CALS lecturer Sara Wyant speaks to a full room of ISU students during her lecture, Unlocking Your Inner Entrepreneur at the Memorial Union on Oct. 2.

Sara Wyant, president of Agri-Pulse Communications and Iowa State alumna, spoke about the importance of persistence when being an entrepreneur on Tuesday at the Memorial Union.

Wyant currently serves as the president of Agri-Pulse Communications. Agri-Pulse is a newsletter and website that provides updates such as policy, trade and food safety to farmers across the country.

Growing up on a farm near Marengo, Iowa, Wyant gained knowledge of both crop and livestock production within the agriculture industry.

Wyant’s entrepreneurship story began when she graduated from college. At that time, farm commodities were going in a downward spiral with collapsing grain prices and skyrocketing interest rates.

During that time, Wyant knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur and start Agri-Pulse, but was turned down numerous times.

“I wanted to focus on the legislative and regulatory issues that were really impacting people in American agriculture in Iowa and other states,” Wyant said.

Wyant and a friend then asked for $30,000 to start the first issue of Agri-Pulse but again were denied by multiple firms.

“One of the things that [has] been good for me is figuring out the level of risk in entrepreneurship and what is your comfort level,” Wyant said.

In the early 90’s, Wyant was freelancing for Farm Progress and felt confident in her entrepreneurial pace. She was later offered a position as the Vice President at the publication in 1995.

Farm Progress eventually started to recede with farm economy and advertising market. She had to let some of her favorite employees go and eventually her job was also eliminated.

After losing her job, one of her clients gave her the idea of doing her newsletter again. Wyant said this was a difficult decision because she had more risk to take than when she was right out of college.

She took time trying to understand the market and changes in the world. Friends began sending in checks to Wyant to support her and her newsletters.

“I'm very grateful in terms of the belief people have had in me and my ability to deliver a good product,” Wyant said.

In regards to her entrepreneurial endeavors, Wyant emphasized the importance of being dedicated and passionate.

“I can promote the passion, persistence, accuracy with the best of them,” Wyant said.

After launching in 2004, Agri-Pulse now has 7,500 paid subscribers and over 25,000 followers on Twitter.

What was once a singular product, Agri-Pulse has now grown to numerous entities, including Daily Harvest, agri-pulse.com, Daybreak and Energy Pulse.

With career fair season starting at Iowa State, Wyant ending the evening by sharing some tips on how to succeed.

“Look the part, show up cleaned up, have a resume that doesn't have any typos in it, be confident and be aware of the folks you are going to be talking to,” Wyant said.

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