Dressed in a gray Mizzou Agriculture shirt, cowboy boots, jeans and an agricultural systems management ball cap, Michael Carpenter does not stand out among his peers in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR). However, Carpenter holds a skill that few people, especially in their early 20s, will ever accomplish. He can fly an airplane.
“I guess I just developed a passion for it the first time I went up,” Carpenter said. “It gives you the types of views that the average person doesn’t get to see.”
Carpenter, who has had his pilot’s licenses since July 2015, has taken approximately 30 to 40 CAFNR friends on flights. In addition to working at the University of Missouri Beef Farm, he is president of the agricultural systems management (ASM) club, vice president of the Alpha Mu and MU Independent Aggies.
“He’s a good ol’ farm boy ya know,” Lucas Daniel said. “He’s got a good work ethic.”
Daniel, junior agricultural systems management major, met Carpenter in an introductory ASM course their freshman year. Their friendship continued through their involvement in ASM Club and MU Independent Aggies.
Leon Schumacher, program chair and professor for the agricultural systems management program, traveled to Germany with Carpenter on a study abroad trip and has seen his leadership within the department firsthand. After being an involved member of ASM club and assisting with the club’s Lawn Mower Clinic, Carpenter was chosen for a leadership role.
“The next year, he was elected as the president of the club,” Schumacher said. “He has taken a very positive leadership role.”
As president, Carpenter helped to restart the fall trip for ASM Club members. The club visited the Quad Cities to interact with employers such as John Deere, Kinze and Caterpillar. Daniel also attended the trip to the Quad Cities with Carpenter or Carp, as his friends call him. It is one of his favorite memories with Carpenter.
Recently, Carpenter assisted by emceeing one of the 100 Years of Engineering in Agriculture events for the department.
“He’s always willing to go the extra mile to help whatever club he is in,” Daniel said.
Carpenter’s grandfather was also a pilot and built a runway in their cattle pasture. The runway and bond Carpenter has with his grandpa inspired him to get his license. A week after graduating high school in 2014, Carpenter started taking private lessons, and a little over a year later her was certified.
“Everybody’s got their hobbies and this is what I picked,” Carpenter said. “Dare to be different.”
Currently, flying is a hobby and after graduating from MU, Carpenter plans to return home and work on the family farm. He does not have plans to fly commercial aircrafts.
“I set a goal for myself in high school to be able to fly to and from college,” Carpenter said.
And that is exactly what Carpenter does. When visiting home, he flies into their cattle pasture runway.