Meet CALS student Langston Jones

CALS students are doing amazing things! Meet some of them in our Q&A series.

This week, we’re hearing from Langston Jones, a junior majoring in agronomy.

How are you involved on campus? 

I am secretary of the Badger Crops Club, which is a student organization whose goal is to promote and connect students who are interested in agriculture. As an officer, I help find speakers for our meetings, organize trips and run the Instagram page. I am also part of the Badger Crops Judging Team, which competes with other schools around the country. We are judged based on our ability to identify over 100 crops and weeds, our general agronomy knowledge and our agricultural math skills. Outside of agriculture-related things, I love to play intramural sports, especially soccer and ultimate frisbee.  

Why have you chosen your field of study? 

I came into UW–Madison looking to be a mechanical engineer but quickly realized that was not for me. Plants always interested me, but it wasn’t until I took a botany class my second semester that I realized they were something I could study and make a major out of. I began talking to faculty members in different departments and eventually landed on agronomy, which is the science of crop production and soil management. I chose it not only for my love of and interest in plants, but also for its importance going forward as climate change intensifies and agriculture adapts.  

What do you like about being at UW–Madison and in CALS? 

The thing I like most about being in CALS is the community I’ve found, especially within my major. My professors, mentors and peers are all some of the smartest and most supportive people I have ever met. Despite not being from Wisconsin or coming from an agricultural background, I have felt at home since the day I switched my major.  

What accomplishments or achievements would you like to share with the CALS community? 

In the fall, the crop judging team I was on placed third out of more than 40 teams at an annual meeting in St. Louis. We studied hard all semester and it felt really good to see the hard work pay off. We have another competition in Idaho this spring, and we are aiming for first so there is still more work to do. At the competition, I also got to connect with other students in agriculture and talk with them about their experiences in the field, which was great. 

What do you want to do once you graduate?

When I graduate my goal is to attend graduate school for plant breeding and genetics with the aim of one day becoming a plant breeder!

Is there anything else you want to tell us?

If you are a CALS student, and have the time, you should fill out the general scholarship application! Even if you don’t think you are eligible you would be surprised. It is a great opportunity to get money for tuition and is something I regret not taking advantage of earlier.  Also, if you have the time and are even a little bit interested in agriculture, the environment and our relationship to the land, I cannot recommend Aldo Leopold’s “A Sand County Almanac” enough. It is a beautiful book, written about Wisconsin, that is accessible and captivating.