I would like to thank all members who played a role in making this scholarship program possible. It makes a tremendous difference to see support from individuals in the industry and community giving back to the next generation in agriculture and helping me reach my career goals of working to provide more affordable and available animal protein to nourish growing communities around the world.
My drive to pursue animal agriculture began in my high school career where I combined my passion for raising pigs through the local 4-H club and my strong appreciation for the sciences to pursue an Animal Science degree. Building upon my past experiences in 4-H, I pursued an internship with Cornell Cooperative Extension working with small ruminant producers to improve their parasite management strategies. While continuing this interest of implementing practical solutions at the farm-level, I completed the capstone Cornell Dairy Fellowship to consult dairy farmers on changes to further their goals that would improve farm profitability, productivity, and sustainability. The impact I saw cooperative extension play in my life and the communities I had worked with across the United States motivated me to serve as the New York Delegate for the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching, to share my story with policymakers about how the land-grant system has impacted millions of lives to date. My transition to another land-grant institution as a Master’s Candidate at Purdue University has helped me gain the technical skills in dairy cattle physiology and nutrition. My research focuses on circadian rhythm disruptions, the quantity of tissue mobilized, and potential solutions to overcome these challenges in dairy cattle beginning their lactation.
Throughout my college career, I gained an appreciation for other countries’ food systems and agricultural development. I have studied dairy production in Italy, climate change impacts on agriculture productivity in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, and community development in Malaysian Borneo. These experiences furthered my interest in the role that agriculture development plays in rural communities and steered me towards my most recent role as an AgriCorps Fellow where I taught agriculture, initiated a school 4-H club, and worked with farmers in the town of Kobina Ansa, Ghana. Almost every household in my community was engaged in agriculture, and through farmers’ stories, I learned the challenges they face. It has become clear that I desire to work directly with farmers to help them discover solutions that work for their operations by using local expertise.
After completing my Master’s degree, I plan to pursue a PhD in dairy cattle nutrition with an application to tropical dairy systems. Most future demand growth of animal source proteins will be in the tropical countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Nigeria, where current production levels are far behind those future projections. From my own experience in Ghana, the only source of dairy in my community was in the form of imported milk powder and one dairy farm in the region. Furthermore, many of these products were far above the price range of an average consumer. Thus, my future goals are to create innovations in line with local environments to improve the global productivity and affordability of livestock products with an organization such as Land O’Lakes International Development. The opportunity to close this gap between current and future supplies is present and I look to be the one to seal it.