Growing up on the family farm provided me the opportunity to work closely with cattle and other livestock species and gain firsthand knowledge of how they’re cared for and the effort it takes to raise them humanely, sustainably, efficiently and profitably. I’ve also marketed some livestock project animals as processed meat directly to consumers. In an effort to further my knowledge of livestock, I’ve participated in a number of livestock judging contests, skillathons and meats judging contests.In 2013 I attended Beef 510, a program held at Ohio State that was focused on consumer demands and consumption of beef. In January of 2016 while a senior in high school I attended a Beef Production Class lecture at Ohio State entitled Beef Industry Overview and Outlook, presented by Professor Dr. Francis Fluharty. Last winter I received my Beef Quality Assurance “Comprehensive” Certification and last May I sat in on a presentation by Dr. Lyda Garcia in the Meat Science Lab at OSU on beef carcass quality to a delegation of cattlemen from Argentina. I enjoyed visiting with them about their beef production practices and how they differ from ours.Wanting to narrow my focus even further onto the meats, beginning this past May I began working as a student intern in the Meat Laboratory at Ohio State. Through my employment that begins each morning at 5:30 a.m. prior to class, I’ve learned a lot more about the meat industry including every aspect of harvesting animals and working with carcasses all the way to processing them into a variety of foods for direct consumption by the consumer. I particularly enjoyed helping in the development of the Buckeye Half Pound Bacon Burger that is now retailed as a sandwich in the Union. In an effort to further my depth of knowledge in the meats, I’ve accepted an internship with Wendy’s subsidiary Quality Supply Chain Co-op, Inc. for this coming summer.For years I’ve volunteered in the OCA Steak Barn at State Fair, plus each of the past three years I’ve worked as an Ohio Beef Council intern during Ohio State Fair. This, in addition to volunteering in a number of consumer oriented beef promotions with local cattlemen has taught me how the consumer thinks regarding the production practices used to grow food and fiber.During these experiences I’ve observed some of the public lack confidence in our food production system. I also learned the public only knows and understands what they’re taught. The few of us who are directly involved in agriculture must do a better job showing consumers the way we grow food is safe, humane, and sustainable.The various experiences highlighted above have not only helped prepare me for the task of teaching the public where their food comes from, but it will also aid me in developing the technologies that can more efficiently move food and fiber from farm to fork.I’m pursuing a career in agriculture with a goal of helping feed and clothe our rapidly growing population.
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