Mikayla Fulper

2015 Scholarship Recipient

(Penn)

- Bachelor Degree Award

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Hometown: Lambertville, NJ

School: Penn State

Major / Species: Animal Science Business/Management Option

Career Goals: 

Author Wendell Berry once wrote, “Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: ‘Love. They must do it for love.’ Farmers farm for the love of farming.” When I explain to friends that my goal is to manage my family’s dairy farm, I am often greeted with questions about why I want early mornings and late nights as well as the constant battle with Mother Nature and other factors beyond my control such as milk prices. What they do not understand is my sincere love for agriculture. The fullness of life I feel while working with cows or out in the fields is incomparable and my passion for the New Jersey and United States agriculture industry drives me to educate the public about where their food comes from and what it takes to ultimately reach the grocery store shelf.

Since I began working at a young age I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in agriculture. I did not realize the intensity of this love and passion until I graduated my senior year of high school and started at The Pennsylvania State University. Two obvious factors for my pursuit in an agriculture career is my love for animals and drive to care for the land to my best ability. However, one of my biggest discoveries in the past three years is that people need to rebuild the connection and trust with those who feed the world; farmers. Since the majority of people today are distantly removed from agriculture, my family has opened our doors to the community and invited youth ages 8- 13 to our farm for a week through our Farmstead Adventure Camp where they learn hands-on from milking cows, to caring for their own calf, and so much more. Now in its ninth year, being a part of our camp as a counselor has been eye opening and I am grateful that I get to welcome kids as well as their families into the dairy industry and give them a firsthand experience and perspective. Over the years, it seems that the public has lost trust in parts of our agriculture industry and I believe taking deeper steps into agri-tourism and opening communication between consumers and farmers will help combat this growing distance between the majority of the public and the agriculture and farming sector.

I do not only see farming as just the amazing opportunity to work so closely with my animals and the land but also as an opportunity to bridge the gap with the community and bring back confidence in our food supply through honest practice and open discussion. I believe in American agriculture and I want to share my passion with others and help them see it for all that it is worth. This country was built on agriculture and I want to encourage others to see the importance it plays in every person’s life first hand.