I would like to extend my deepest thanks to all of the Targeting Excellence sponsors, the board, and all committees. The beginning of 2020 has been historical, but even through uncertain times, Targeting Excellence is still committed to helping students like myself prepare for a future in agriculture.
Agriculture is an industry that will only become more important moving into the future and I’m excited and motivated to be an impactful force. The work that Targeting Excellence is doing is pivotal to the success of so many students like myself, thank you!
Looking back on my past and looking forward to my future I see similar things in my life. My past has been filled with a passion for agriculture and I strongly believe that my future will be filled with a passion for agriculture as well. I’m blessed and honored to be a part of the 2% of the American population that is directly involved in farming. My family’s dairy farm started in 1895 and has been passed through the generations to my father who is now a fourth-generation dairy farmer. I hope to be the fifth one day. Right now all aspects of the agricultural industry are hurting and dairy is not an exception. Since 2013, farmers have seen a 45% drop in net farm income and states like Minnesota and Wisconsin have been losing dairy farms at a rate of 15 per week. The agricultural industry is cyclical, however, this cycle has hit most farmers harder than most including my family and our small dairy farm. This reality has not deterred me from pursuing a career in animal agriculture though, it has only made me more determined to be successful in what I do. It has also made me more determined to eventually return to my family’s dairy farm and make it successful and sustainable for future generations. I understand that it will be difficult, but I’m not afraid of hard work and I look forward to the day that all of my hard work will eventually pay off. Right now I am studying Animal Science and Agricultural Food and Business Management at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities. I always knew that I loved agriculture, but coming to college has really opened my eyes to how much the agricultural industry is hurting right now. I see every day how disconnected most people are from agriculture and how much agriculture truly needs strong young leaders to take it into the future. Right now I’m very unsure about what specific career path I want to follow before returning to my farm, but I have a growing interest in business as well as advocating for the dairy industry. My favorite part of being involved in agriculture is the people. It’s encouraging when I meet people that have the same drive, determination, and passion for agriculture that I do. Attending the many fairs, conventions, judging trips, and other events throughout the years, I’ve been able to meet people from many different 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 and I’m able to learn about some of the larger problems that face the entire agricultural industry. I know that whatever I decide to do I will be involved in agriculture in one way or another and that I’ll be happy with wherever I end up and whatever I end up doing.