Thank you to the Targeting Excellence Sponsors, Board, and Committees for supporting me in my studies at the University of Minnesota. As a first-year student, I am extremely grateful to receive this honor and to receive financial assistance towards my education. This scholarship will help me successfully complete my studies and eventually pursue a career in animal agriculture. Again, thank you to everyone who makes this scholarship program possible. Your generosity is a great help to many students interested in agriculture, including myself.
Agriculture has played a huge role in my life so far. The experiences I’ve had, people I’ve met, and skills I’ve gained through my involvement in agriculture are irreplaceable. I’ve gained so much in my life already from agriculture, and I want to be able to give back to the agricultural community through my career. My upbringing on my family’s dairy farm, and my participation in dairy-related activities have especially fostered a passion for the dairy industry within me. Through research and innovation, I hope to be able to improve the dairy industry, before eventually returning to my family’s dairy farm as an owner and operator. My plans will likely take many unexpected turns, but I know that I will always be involved with agriculture in some way or another.
So far, I have primarily been involved in the dairy industry through my family’s farm and organizations like 4-H, FFA, and MJHA. On my family’s farm, I help with various chores, which has taught me a lot of practical knowledge and skills that will make me better at working on and managing dairy operations in the future. The dairy-related organizations I’m a part of have given me opportunities to learn about showing and judging dairy animals and gain in-depth knowledge about dairy farming. My involvement in showing and judging has helped me understand how to improve a dairy herd. Dairy quiz bowl competitions have taught me about the specifics of the dairy industry. Perhaps the most important thing I have gained from dairy-related activities is the relationships I’ve built with other people who share my passion for dairy. During the conventions, fairs, judging trips, and other events that I’ve attended, I’ve met people from many places who play a part in the dairy industry. I’m able to share ideas with them, and learn new ways to improve my family’s farm as well as larger problems that face the entire dairy industry.
Now that it’s almost time for me to move on from many of these activities, it’s up to me to find new opportunities to learn about dairy and make connections with the people who are involved with it. When I started college this fall, I decided to major in animal science, but I wasn’t entirely sure what part of animal science I wanted to focus on. Then a graduate student who I knew coming into college starting talking to me about his research. I was interested in what he was studying, and he offered me a position as an undergraduate research assistant, helping him with his research. Working with him has sparked my interest in research, and the practical applications that it can have in the dairy industry. After college, I hope to continue doing research as a graduate student and possibly as a career. I believe that discoveries made through research have the potential to improve many aspects of the dairy industry. Through research, I hope to find ways to make agriculture better for everyone involved with it.