To everyone who makes the Targeting Excellence Program possible:
Thank you so much for your time, work, and effort in making scholastic funding available to the future leaders in food animal agriculture. Not only does this program make my future financially realistic, but the professional development events allow for greater networking in the industry and exploration of the wide variety of opportunities that exist post-graduation. It is because of individuals and organizations like yours that give me confidence about my future as a researcher in dairy nutrition and give back to the community that has provided me with so much.
By May 2021, I will have successfully completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Dairy Science and Agronomy with a Certificate in Business Management for Ag & Life Sciences. I chose this specific educational plan because of my affinity for an emergence approach; my perspective has always been one that the whole is greater and not equal to the sum of its parts. How can one truly analyze a dairy without looking at the income statement and balance sheet? If the dairy industry wants to maximize feed efficiencies, should it not be done in lock step with forage management and grain quality? I’m pursuing all three programs to avoid a reductionist method to my future dairy herd management.
The deeper influence of my educational decision is strongly tied to bond I developed to my family’s dairy farm. In high school, I took on the role as a farm partner when I purchased my first springing heifer. Today, I own 2 Holstein cows, 1 Jersey cow, four Holstein heifers and 1 Jersey yearling. By taking on this position, I learned the joys and struggles that come from dairy farming. I saw how market prices affected our bottom line and which policy changes added an element of uncertainty to the household. Yet I also had the opportunity to see first-hand how hard work can pay off and the benefits of working an intrinsically-enjoyable job. Because of these positive experiences in the dairy industry and my emergence approach, I’m working towards a career which combines all aspects of dairy farming and simultaneously helps the average American farmer. Whether this is owning my own dairy operation, earning a PhD. to become a dairy nutritionist, or taking on a high level management position on a dairy farm or research facility, I will work to advance the dairy industry through science, technology, and finances.