Adam Sills stands in front of the “Unfinished Block P” sculpture at Purdue University. The sculpture represents a work in progress and the idea that one’s education never ends.
Adam Sills stands in front of the “Unfinished Block P” sculpture at Purdue University. The sculpture represents a work in progress and the idea that one’s education never ends.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Agriculture comes natural to Adam Sills. He’s been around it his whole life, from 4-H projects to tractor pulling, and he hopes to be around agriculture for many years to come.

Sills, a senior from Bluffton studying agricultural systems management, has found the College of Agriculture at Purdue University to be an exciting place to learn.

“I’ve enjoyed my journey at Purdue,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of people and learned a lot. I’ve had a lot of good experiences.

“I came into college studying interdisciplinary agriculture, just taking economics classes and broad classes to see what I wanted to do. I decided on ASM because I felt like it was a mixture between ag engineering, management and economics. It felt like a good fit for me.”

He helps his father manage a 1,500-acre corn and soybean farm in northeast Indiana. Balancing school, work and farming can be tough, but Sills doesn’t mind the challenge.

Thanks to auto steer, he can do homework and be on the tractor at the same time.

“Growing up on a farm, I’ve dealt with agriculture every day,” he said. “I went to a small school in the middle of a cornfield, so that’s a big part of our community. Being from an ag background, I took ag management classes, and they used agricultural examples to help teach.

“It’s easy to relate to when you come from that background.”

His agricultural background has helped Sills succeed in college. He is a member of Alpha Mu, the agricultural systems management honors fraternity. He also participates in the ASM Club and Diesel Club.

His hard work earned him the title of Outstanding Junior of 2013 within the Agriculture and Biological Engineering Department.

“I study hard,” he said. “But a lot of it is second nature. I can understand and build on it. Because I came in and explored first before deciding on my major, I was able to find my niche,” he said.

Sills’ internship experiences include positions at John Deere, Kuhn North America and Franklin Electric. His job responsibilities have ranged from helping assemble grain bins to marketing agricultural equipment.

It’s important to apply skills learned in classes to internships and farm work, Sills said.

“One day I would like to work with an ag equipment manufacturer like Deere or Kuhn,” he said. “I enjoy tinkering with stuff. That comes from growing up on the farm, being out with my dad in the shop every day after school and in the summer.”

Sills learned about ag systems management while participating in 4-H Round-Up, a camp experience that teaches 4-H members about higher education. The program introduced him to the College of Ag through a series of mini lectures and labs.

His advice to future College of Ag students was to take advantage of networking opportunities, such as career fairs, and to find a major that is enjoyable.

“Get involved,” he said. “Do what you like. Do internships. Go out and explore — see the world and see the country.”

When Sills isn’t working, studying or helping on the farm, he spends time at the university gym.

He enjoys lifting weights, playing sports and hanging out with friends. Growing up, his favorite pastime was tractor pulling.

“I’ve been pulling since before kindergarten,” he said. “My dad put blocks on the pedals and a hand throttle so I could pull garden tractors.

“What my grandpa and dad said growing up is we work hard, we play hard. I’m here to study, to get good grades and to learn. That’s what I try to focus on.”