I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the Targeting Excellence Scholarship. I’m honored to receive this scholarship and am very grateful to be able to use these funds towards my education. Each and every day I’m blessed to be a part of an industry that does so much for its youth. Right now the agricultural industry is struggling but It’s because of scholarship programs like this that the agricultural industry will continue to grow stronger into the future.
Looking back on my past and looking forward towards the future I see similar things in my life. My past has been dominated by a passion for agriculture and I plan on my future being dominated with a passion for agriculture as well. I feel 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 a fourth generation dairy farmer.
Right now all aspects of the agricultural industry are hurting especially dairy. Since 2013, farmers have seen a 45% drop in net farm income and Minnesota and Wisconsin are 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. This reality has not deterred me from pursuing a career in animal production agriculture though, it has only made me more determined to be successful in what I do. I understand that it will be difficult, but to me working hard will make my success even more satisfying.
Right now I am studying animal science at the University of Minnesota with an emphasis in dairy production. I plan to also minor in agronomy and possibly double major in agricultural communications and marketing. 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 and how much it needs strong young leaders to take it into the future.
When I’m asked what I want to do once I have my degree I don’t quite know what to say. One part of me says that I’m going to go home and start dairy farming right away. However, another part of me says that I’m going to gain some industry experience before going home to farm. I’m truly torn on what to do. I want to be able to get industry experience working off the farm and to be able to network with other people in the industry, so that I can bring knowledge back to improve the farm. I also want to go back home and farm because I am fearful of what might happen if I’m gone for too long. Going through the next couple of years of college will be able to help me decide what I should do. 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.