My sincerest thanks to the Targeting Excellence Board of Directors, donors and state committees for selecting me as a recipient of one of the Targeting Excellence awards. I am honored to be among the amazing group selected. The support from this industry is truly encouraging and greatly appreciated. I am looking forward to giving back to the industry which has given me so much.
I consider myself having the best of both worlds – growing up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania while still finding a way to raise and show livestock. It allowed me to see the opportunities in agriculture and realize desperate connection the American public needed to their food supply. Ultimately, the show ring propelled me into a lifelong passion for production agriculture. My collegiate career began at Penn State University in Food Science. While at Penn State I was on the livestock judging team, heavily involved in animal science related extracurriculars and focused my coursework in Animal Science. Through a Targeting Excellence event I connected with Hord Family Farms, whom I have completed two internships with as an undergraduate and graduate student in production and research related capacities. My graduate work began at Texas A&M University in the fall of 2016 in swine nutrition where my research focused on pellet quality and nutrition. As a first year PhD student at Kansas State University, my goal is to complete valuable, applied research in nutrition and feed manufacturing to impact the swine industry. My research group focuses on how the feed science and animal nutrition interface impacts animal performance, health, meat quality and economics. Livestock feed is the primary cost center of raising animals and being able to directly apply this work in commercial systems is of great value. Research is a vital tool to continue providing essential, safe and affordable protein to a growing population.My education in food, animal and feed science continues to mold me into a well-rounded agriculturalist. I have thoroughly enjoyed my evolving academic and career aspirations with my end goal of impacting the swine industry remaining constant. Upon completing my educational endeavors, I believe my skills will be best applied working as part of a technical service team or as a nutritionist in the industry to provide advice in the nutrition and feed manufacturing interface. Additionally, I have some interest in returning to academia after working in the industry. I look forward to continued opportunities in animal agriculture and mentoring the next generation. Through my disciplines of training I hope to be a voice and champion for production agriculture – educating the public and impacting the industry.
Support Students in food Animal agriculture - Become a Donor or Sponsor today!
Targeting Excellence PO Box 759 RoseHill, NC 28458
For questions please call: Rachel Virden 678-448-2368