Growing up on the family farm provided the opportunity to work closely with cattle and other livestock, gaining firsthand knowledge of how they’re cared for and the effort it takes to raise them humanely, sustainably, and efficiently. I’ve also marketed project animals as processed meat directly to consumers. Furthering my knowledge of livestock, I participated in a number of livestock judging contests, skillathons and meat judging contests.
In 2013 I attended Beef 510, a program held at OSU focused on consumer demands and consumption of beef. In January of 2016 I attended a Beef Production Class lecture at OSU entitled Beef Industry Overview and Outlook, presented by Professor Fluharty. Two years ago I received my Beef Quality Assurance “Comprehensive” Certification and in May, 2017 I sat in on a presentation by Dr. Garcia in the OSU Meat Science Lab 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 further onto the meats, in May, 2017 I began working as a student intern in the Meat Science Laboratory at OSU. Through my employment there each day prior to class I’ve learned much 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 consumers. I’ve particularly enjoyed helping with the development of the Buckeye Half Pound Bacon Burger that is now a sandwich retailed in the Union.
In an effort to further my depth of knowledge in the meats, I completed an internship with Wendy’s subsidiary Quality Supply Chain Co-op, Inc. this past summer. My responsibilities included conducting a research project focused on discovering more efficient ways to fully cook their hamburgers.
For years I’ve volunteered in the OCA Steak Barn at State Fair, plus for three years I worked as an Ohio Beef Council intern during 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 that some public lack confidence in our food production system. I learned they only know and understand 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.
Estimates are by 2050 we’ll need to feed 9 billion people. Our growing population creates the need for more food and fiber, while doing it more efficiently. We must continue to develop and implement new technologies to feed and clothe the families that make up our growing population.
My interest in animal agriculture began while raising and exhibiting livestock and has grown into the desire to become involved in finding ways to sustainably feed the population and educating the consumer about how that can be done.