Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to funding and organizing these scholarships. Your generosity and dedication are so very much appreciated. I’m very grateful that I’ll be able to put this award toward my veterinary school tuition, and looking forward to a career supporting food animal agriculture.
The food animal industry has always been close to my heart. My earliest childhood memories are of riding in the clinic truck on farm calls with my dad and watching as he treated livestock. With parents for veterinarians, animals have always been a significant part of my life. When I was old enough to show in 4-H, my parents bought me my first steer and I fell in love with cattle. I raised Shorthorns for years, competing at county fair and open shows. When I got into high school, I began breeding and raising Boer goats for FFA. Through hard work, careful breeding, and support from my family, I developed a quality herd that would go on to win multiple county fair championships. The best part is that I was able to teach my younger brothers how to show cattle and goats, and raising livestock became a family endeavor that pulled my family closer together. I am forever grateful for the valuable life lessons that food animal agriculture has taught me. I am responsible because the lives of animals have depended upon my actions. I am hardworking because I’ve baled hay in the summer sun and delivered kids in sub-zero temperatures. I am diligent because one unlatched gate or one feed mix-up could be deadly. I am hardened because I’ve lost animals that I cherished, and I am softened because I’ve felt a baby goat nuzzle my chin and a calf suckle on my fingers. I have tightly hugged a steer that I spent an entire year working with day-in and day-out, silently wiped the tears from my face, and walked him onto the butcher’s truck because I knew and valued his purpose. This country was founded on agriculture, and the roots of agriculture hold us in place – not just as families, not just as towns, but as a society. As the world drifts farther away from its humble beginnings, people need to be reminded what grounds us, and more importantly what sustains us. My experiences raising livestock have been instrumental in my decision to become a food animal veterinarian. After breeding generations of goats and cattle, I have an immense appreciation for animal reproduction. My ultimate goal is to complete a residency in theriogenology and specialize in ruminant reproduction. I aim to raise my own livestock and educate others on the importance of animal agriculture. I hope to give back the knowledge and assistance that I’ve received over the years by providing quality animals to 4-H kids and teaching them how to raise and exhibit livestock.