Thank you so much for your time and dedication to the next generation in animal agriculture. It means a lot to be recognized for my work in this field and there is no doubt that I am looking forward to all that is to come in my career. I look to strive to make dairy and beef cattle systems carbon neutral given the food and nutrition challenges we are and will experience. Your time and involvement speak volumes about your belief in the future of animal agriculture and the role it will play for communities here in the United States and around the world. These scholarship funds will come in an immense help to help cover the costs of housing and other living experiences I’ve had from relocating to California. I know I live outside the current territory for Targeting Excellence, but if there is any opportunity to help out with the fundraising events, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
My passion for animal agriculture was initiated when I entered the 4th grade and raised my first set of show pigs through 4-H. I cultivated this interest over nine years and developed a keen interest in providing optimal nutrition to maximize my pigs’ appearance in the show ring. I merged this interest with my favorite courses throughout high school in chemistry and biology and pursued the animal science major at Cornell University. After moving across the country to New York where there are a lot more dairy than swine operations, I found a new interest in dairy cattle management and involvement in the Cornell Dairy Fellowship. Through this program, I integrated the triad of agribusiness, applied research, and financial planning to consult dairy farms throughout the Northeast on changes to improve farm performance based on their specific goals. Given all my success and interest in the technical aspect of the dairy industry, I knew the next logical step would be a master’s in dairy cattle nutrition. My master’s research allowed me to focus on the transition period of the dairy cattle lactation, which includes the few weeks before and after calving. During this period, cows metabolize their own protein and fat tissue to meet their nutrient requirements in early lactation. Through the use of ultrasound measurements, blood samples, and tissue biopsies, we looked to answer the question of why certain dairy cows prefer to use nutrients from their body tissue vs. nutrients consumed for early lactation milk production. This research has the possibility to help producers more accurately feed their herds and prevent wasteful overfeeding of key nutrients to improve animal health and performance. Given my strong technical background and interest in thinking about the role of dairy farms in food systems, I was motivated to pursue my PhD at the intersection of intensive cattle production and environmental limits. This field continues to be incredibly pertinent to all members across the supply chain from consumers, producers, to industry members and co-ops. While much progress has been made in cattle production efficiencies, there is still much to be done. Cattle production, unlike other industries, has the possibility to reduce its environmental impact, sequester carbon via the soil, and positively contribute to human nutrition. I seek to use my degree and career to uncover solutions that can be implemented on farms to improve animal health, production efficiencies, and climate outcomes. Given the importance of this field, it would be a failure to have my research restricted to the lab or academia alone. Therefore, I seek to use this information to influence and impact decision makers that are concerned with nutrition and climate impacts. After I complete my PhD, I seek to pursue a public policy or an industry role at the boundary of the environment, production agriculture, and human nutrition to ensure that cattle’s role in food systems can sustain all three pillars across the U.S. and around the world.