I am extremely grateful to all of the Sponsors, Board members, and Committee members that made this scholarship happen. Supporting students in Agriculture will help create a better food system and also a better planet for future generations to come. Paying for college by myself is not easy, but because of great programs like Targeting Excellence, I am able to better manage my school and work schedule, and focus more on my studies.
My current path after graduation may start a couple different ways, but I have the same end goal whichever path I take. I have a strong interest and aptitude for dairy genetics, and one potential career path may be to use that interest to secure position relatively local to our family farm, either as an analyst for a sire stud company or as a classifier for a dairy breeds association. I plan to work full time in this position, actively working to improve the dairy industry by helping farmers select better genetics for their herd, while working with my family on our farm in my free time and investing the salary from my job back into the farm over a course of years. Our current family operation milks 60 registered Holstein and Red & White Holstein cows and crop farms around 800 acres. Over time I want to invest into the business and expand into a midsize, progressive dairy farm with on-farm milk processing that directly markets to the consumer. The end goal would be to milk about 300-600 cows, utilizing technologies such as robotic automation, automated feeding systems, cow comfort amenities, and an eco-friendly manure management system. For the past several years, I worked at Chipotle Mexican Grill and have gained an understanding of both the retail space and customer service. I plan to use that understanding to one day directly market our dairy products to the local community. To gain customers, I want to integrate agritourism into the dairy operation, so customers can see exactly where the ice cream, milk, and other dairy products they just purchased came from. Today’s consumers love to have that personal connection with the people making their food, and hosting a tour of the farm is the best way to provide that. An alternative career path for me may be as a herdsman at a larger dairy in southcentral Pennsylvania area. In our state, many family dairy farms exist that are in the last generation with no younger partners coming in to keep the business going. Becoming a herdsman at an operation like this is a good way to show my work ethic and drive for the industry to the farm owners. If I prove myself to them, there may be potential to build equity and work toward potential ownership as well. If I worked for a dairy like this full time, while still helping at our family farm, I could eventually work into potentially operating satellite dairies across the southcentral Pennsylvania area while having a larger supply base for a potential retail store or ice cream shop in the future. Either way, my end goal is to carry on the tradition of dairying that my family has taught me and to give back to the industry I love by creating a high quality, reputable product for the people in my community.