Mary Liebenstein 2016 & 2017 Scholarship Winner

Mary Liebenstein

I am greatly honored to receive this scholarship and I thank you for believing in me and the future of agriculture for providing me and other students with these generous awards. It will help me to pursue my dreams of becoming a food animal veterinarian and decrease the monetary burden that comes with my education. I look forward to working with you all in the future, as the agriculture industry is really not that large. I am excited about being able to work with and serve food animal producers to help them to feed a hungry, growing population. Again, I am forever grateful for this scholarship and thank you for selecting me.

Hometown: Dundas, MN

School: University of Minnesota

Major / Species: Veterinary Medicine

Career Goals: Growing up on my family’s dairy farm instilled in me a true passion for not only the dairy industry but the entire animal agriculture industry. I was in charge of feeding calves in the mornings and assisting my dad with checking fresh cows and other various chores. Through my experiences on the farm, I learned all of the hard work and effort that goes into being an agriculturalist in today’s society and have seen these traits come through in everything that I do both on and off the farm. In the future, I plan to be an integral part of the industry that has taught me more about life itself than I ever imagined. In my experiences on the farm, it did not take me long to recognize the vast amount of work that goes in to taking care of the animals on which our livelihood depends. This was clearly demonstrated to me in my internships at Merry-Water Farms, a 1300 cow dairy farm, and Holden Farms, which has 55,000 sows. My work with the sick animals, though at times was difficult, proved to be a very fulfilling job. This reinforced for me that I want to pursue a career making sure that livestock are healthy so that they can be as productive as possible. This year I began veterinary school at the University of Minnesota to become a large animal veterinarian. Eventually, I plan to become a consulting veterinarian for dairy producers, to help them become as efficient and productive as possible. I know that in order to feed a growing population, farmers need to continue to produce more food with the same number of animals, if not less. Genetics will play a vital role as we breed for more efficient animals. Along with genetics is the quality and safety aspect of what we as producers do every day to provide healthy animal products for our consumer. While in veterinary school, I will also be obtaining my Masters of Public Health. The relationship between human and veterinary medicine is continuously more intertwined. This relationship spans beyond just zoonotic diseases and meat inspection. Over time, consumer education becomes more important to gain consumer confidence because we need people to consume what we produce. I plan to utilize my experiences and knowledge gained during my schooling to educate consumers and to ensure that we are able to provide food to people across the world. It is because of the endless possibilities in career choices, passionate people, and opportunities to get involved that I have chosen to commit myself to the future of agriculture. As a future veterinarian, I plan to assist producers to tailor their operations to their needs and how they can be most successful. This career choice offers me the opportunity to work with producers and consumers alike to build the relationships necessary for continuing to have a safe, affordable product. The future of agriculture is bright and I want nothing more than to be involved in the industry.