Written by OSU student Sydney Snider
Growing up on a family farm as the youngest of four brothers, Matthew Klopfenstein became comfortable with hard work at an early age. The Klopfenstein family resides in Haviland, Ohio, and grows soybeans, corn and wheat.
“In high school, we were taught once you’re home from school, you go outside and help dad on the farm,” said Matthew, who attributes his work ethic to growing up on the farm.
Today, Matthew is an agricultural engineering student at The Ohio State University and plans to graduate in May 2020. The Paulding County native has certainly not let the work ethic he developed on the farm slip away during his time at OSU. He is actively involved with Alpha Zeta Partners honorary fraternity, the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) and is an ambassador for the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He’s also no stranger to leadership roles. Matthew is currently president of FarmHouse fraternity, he served as the 2015-2016 Ohio FFA Association state president and was also the captain of OSU’s Quarter-Scale Tractor Team for two years.
The Quarter-Scale Tractor Team is a dynamic group of OSU students from a variety of majors who are knowledgeable in mechanics, hydraulics, physics, manufacturing, electricity, economics, business, agriculture and more. They work together to design and build a tractor, then compete in an international contest hosted by ASABE.
“You do everything from the reports and technical design to performance events and a presentation,” said Matthew. For the past three years, the team has placed eighth in the competition, and Matthew is hopeful they’ll improve their placing in future years.
Aside from his student organization involvement, Matthew said growing up on the farm has given him a unique edge as an engineering student. Not everyone can bring the perspective of a farmer to class assignments and discussions. His background has not only helped him stand out academically but also when interviewing for internship roles.
“Being able to look at a piece of machinery and know how it’s used from a customer’s perspective is really valuable when it comes to design and decision-making,” he said. Matthew has interned with Kuhn North America as a product evaluation engineer and with Caterpillar as a design engineer with new product introduction. During the summer of 2019, he will intern with Precision Planting as a research and development engineer.
Matthew said he is grateful for his experiences growing up on the farm but believes anyone interested in agriculture can find an area to learn, grow and make an impact.
“There are plenty of challenges that need better solutions in agriculture, but that makes for exciting opportunities,” he added.
Matthew said his strong work ethic and dedication to finding innovative ways to improve modern farming are values he will carry with him through the rest of his collegiate experience and future career as an ag engineer.