CSU, Chico

Kelsey Maben, Agriculture Business

Kelsey Maben, Agriculture Business

Kelsey MabenWhen the 2011 Star Student in Agricultural Business, Kelsey Maben was 6 years old, she begged her mom to buy chicks at the local feed store in her hometown, Vallecito, Calif. From those first 20 chicks, her flock quickly grew to approximately 500 birds. Now Maben is one of the two student managers for the California State University, Chico College of Agriculture pasture poultry project.

Maben was very active in 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA), raising poultry projects, steers, sheep, and dairy heifers. Every project Maben started she turned into a successful business. With her chickens, ducks, and geese she sold project birds to other kids, breeding stock birds, broiler chickens, and eggs. She also had a flock of six ewes from which she sold lambs to the community and to kids for project lambs. Maben also did very well with her project steers, often winning champion at her county fair.

Even though she had so many different project animals, poultry is her passion. “I always loved chicks,” said Maben. “There is a huge range of things to do with poultry projects, and you can see progress more quickly than in larger animals.”

Besides managing the Chico State pasture poultry project, Maben also started and coordinated the poultry judging contest for the CSU, Chico/Butte College FFA Field Day. “I enjoyed judging poultry in FFA, and I wanted to create a contest in Northern California for students to get the same experience I had,” said Maben.

Along with her major in agricultural business, Maben also has a minor in environmental studies. “I like the interface between agriculture and environmental issues, so I incorporated environmental studies into my major,” she said.

Maben is currently the intern in the Environmental Action and Resource Center (EARC). EARC is a hub with in Associated Students (AS) for environmental activism.

Growing up with a mom who taught agriculture, Maben gained an appreciation for agriculture early. “I love being part of an industry that feeds the world and takes care of the environment at the same time,” said Maben.

Maben transferred to CSU, Chico from Modesto Junior College. “I loved the small college and the college-town feel in Chico,” she said. “I also love the University Farm. It’s gorgeous and there is always something interesting happening, presenting hands-on opportunities to learn.”

After graduation, Maben wants to continue a career in agriculture. She hopes to be able to serve as an interface between agriculture and the general public.