When my daughter was a college sophomore, she came home one day, and by her purposeful demeanor and determined step, it was evident she had something on her mind.

We sat on the couch and while I waited, she turned to a single page in the notebook. On it, she’d written 15 to 20 professions that she was considering.

When she ¬finished stating the pros and cons of each career, I paused for a moment and then asked one question: “Which one do you think you’d feel passionate about doing every day?”

Without hesitation, she answered, “I’d love to be a teacher, but...”

At that point, it was just a matter of encouraging her to go forward and put all her efforts toward reaching her goal. She never looked back, fully embracing the classes and experiences that would help her become a high school English and speech teacher.

A few years ago, an article called, “The 20 Most Useless College Majors,” circulated the Internet, and unbelievably, agriculture was among those listed. Although the rankings were based on many factors, including the number of jobs available, it was surprising and dismaying.

Agriculture is diverse, exciting and includes a broad spectrum of careers. Mike Gaul, career services director for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at Iowa State University, says salaries for students in most agricultural fields increased by five percent in 2012-13.

What should students really measure when choosing a life-long career? Money? Power? Quality of life? Hopefully, they don’t simply look for the job that pays the most.

Their future paths should be based on a combination of meaningful factors, and hopefully they have mentors who are helping guide their decisions.

If your sons or daughters are passionate about agriculture, encourage them to pursue a career in this ever-changing, dynamic industry. The satisfaction and reward of doing meaningful work you love contributes to making life truly worthwhile.