Passion, Community, Leadership, Agribusiness & Hawaii

April 8, 2024

AREC senior is nominated by professor to travel and present at the 2024 RoundTable Conference in Kona, Hawaii.


Ashton Redd, senior double-majoring in Agribusiness Economics & Management (ABEM) and Environmental & Water Resource Economics (EWRE), was nominated by Professor Gary Thompson for the Farm Foundation Cultivator experience at the 2024 RoundTable Conference in Kona, Hawaii in January.  

The conference provided Ashton with the opportunity to present research she conducted on Colorado River policy and the affects it's had on farmer’s decisions in Arizona, titled: The Woes of Western Water. During the conference, she gave a presentation on her poster and answered questions provided by conference attendees. 

Ashton shared that along with experiencing the research presentation and Q&A portion of the conference, she also seized the opportunity to learn much regarding Hawaiian agriculture and connect with “industry titans” about issues affecting agriculture all across the country. She added, “There is power in bringing people together so that they can share their perspectives.” 

Ashton’s Story 

Growing up in Casa Grande, Arizona, Ashton found her passion for agriculture at a young age when she began presenting livestock in 4-H. Years down the line, Ashton joined the Casa Grande FFA Chapter, where she competed in many contests. Following her active involvement, Ashton became the Arizona FFA State President in 2020. 

Ashton expressed that her interest in both ABEM and EWRE majors came early on after her upbringing and involvement with 4-H and FFA. When pursuing admission to UArizona, she initially went for the ABEM major due to its foundational understanding in economics. Then after her sophomore year, she decided to further expand into EWRE for “a more diversified degree that focused on interest areas of water and land issues as well.” 

She explained, “Advocating for the agriculture industry and helping to bridge the communication gap between producers and legislators has always been my end goal.”  

Ashton described her favorite moments of the AREC department mostly being the overflowing support and a strong community where close connections are built between peers and faculty. She added, “It is one of my favorite bragging points about my chosen degrees! All faculty are supportive by willing to provide a helping hand when classes are tough but never give you the easy path out either.” 

Following her undergraduate degree completion, Ashton plans to pursue a master's program or law school, focusing on Western agriculture issues. She remains committed to serving her local community and will continue after she has completed her education and officially started her professional career. 

Advice for AREC undergraduates 

Ashton always found that the biggest obstacle to overcome in her undergraduate career was the idea of wanting to be perfect; she came to realize that your academic career will always have failures and misunderstandings, and that’s how you grow and get through it.  

She continued, “AREC is a place with unlimited opportunities if you are willing to pour time and energy into creating connections. The value this department brings to its students far exceeds just the superior education you receive in the classroom; take advantage of it.” 

For students who are curious in completing research or an internship during their undergraduate: get involved and make connections. Ashton said, “if you have a want to be involved in research but do not know where to start, make your interests known. My parents always say, “squeaky wheel gets the grease.” 

This advice is proven to aid possibilities; Ashton made her interests known in the AREC department throughout her years of involvement and courses, and Professor Thompson approached her about an internship opportunity and nominated her. Without all of that connection she built prior, she would have never been given the extraordinary opportunity to present research in Kona, HI. 


The entire AREC department congratulates Ashton Redd on her extraordinary internship and undergraduate achievements, as she completes her ABEM & EWRE degrees. Best of luck in your future endeavors, and always remember—Bear Down! 

Ashton Redd Farmers Foundation Cultivators 2024
Ashton Redd in Kona, Hawaii presenting for the Farmers Foundation Cultivators' Round Table Conference in January 2024.