Josh Davis recently graduated with a degree in Agribusiness and Applied Economics. Throughout his school career, he could have played it safe and remained in his internship with Nationwide until a full time position arose after graduation. The previous summer and part-time throughout the school year, he had interned at the insurance giant as a Risk Management and Loss Control Specialist.
Instead, in 2018 he answered the call to adventure and took a summer position with the USDA as a Wildland Firefighter in California. After rigorous training, he was assigned to a team that conducted search and rescues, fought vegetation fires and assisted with medical interventions.
“It was intense but really rewarding work,” says Davis. “I liked the face-paced nature of the search and rescue calls. It was a thrill to witness the talent of the pilots who navigated helicopters around the sites.”
He returned to Ohio State that fall to continue classes ahead of the most destructive and deadliest wildfire in California history struck. The Camp Fire affected his fellow crew members deeply as many lost their homes fighting the massive inferno. Then, after graduation, he signed up for another six-month fire season.
Aside from experiencing a life-changing adventure, Davis saw first-hand how what he studied in the classroom applied in real-life scenarios.
“I saw how logging and farming regulations, both physical and financial, affected the fires and forest management which is a heavily debated subject in the state,” says Davis. “The farming practice of open grazing of livestock is supported in some areas but not all as a way to clear underbrush which cuts down on the amount of fuel for fires.”
Davis says some believe farming and grazing the land is damaging the environment but he witnessed firsthand the beneficial impacts it had on the land, especially in regards to land management to reduce the impact of fire.
Davis hopes to take what he learned in the field and his understanding of how farming practices and farm policy have a greater impact to both the economy and environment than just the effect it has on the farmer and apply it to a full-time position in the Agribusiness field. He isn’t looking for fight more fires anytime soon but he will have unique and exciting things to talk about in future job interviews.