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Patrick Ndungutse poses for a portrait in the green space outside of Love Library on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln student wrote and illustrated an agriculture-related book, titled “Miss Farmer,” to spread awareness about the lives of farmers across the world.

Patrick Ndungutse, a freshman integrated science major, is part of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Undergraduate Scholarship Program, which allows Rwandan students to pursue a degree in UNL’s integrated science major.

Ndungutse said he started drawing when he was a little kid, and he grew up with a passion for being an artist. He participated in drawing competitions, and he also started writing short stories.

In high school, he had to choose between taking art or science classes. He chose science classes and started to develop a passion for agriculture, he said.

“Agriculture is very common back home to my family,” he said. “I grew up knowing that I have to pursue agriculture.”

He said the book idea came from a conversation about his future that he had with friends. His disappointment with the lack of kids’ books about agriculture also helped him decide to write his own.

Ndungutse said the story of “Miss Farmer” is about a little girl who falls from the sky and has nowhere to live. The girl, who is able to speak with plants, aids a starving village by helping its people to grow plants.

He said the process of illustrating was very difficult for him because he worked on the project by himself.

“The most challenging thing was that I was not familiar with drawing on [a] computer … which is still now a little bit challenging,” he said. “It was hard for me to lower the idea that I had at the time to kids’ level that they can enjoy.”

He said he spent between one and three days on each page of the 15 page book, between writing and illustrating. Though the work was taxing, Ndungutse said he enjoyed tying his passions for art and science together.

Christian Sheja, the president of the recognized student organization Agriculture Leadership Shields, said Ndungutse’s project could help kids understand the importance of agriculture.

“This could have a huge impact on the agricultural industry in years to come,” he said. “I find this amazing and very helpful to the agricultural industry worldwide.”

Ndungutse said kids should know they can be superheroes while pursuing careers in agriculture.

“... Encouraging kids to love agriculture is not an easy task, but it is possible by exposing them to agriculture in any possible ways, which include reading an agriculture-related book,” he said.

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