I would like to extend my deepest thanks to all of the Targeting Excellence Sponsors, Board, and Committees. This past year 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 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 Registered Holstein dairy farm was started in 1886 and I’m fortunate that it has been passed through the generations to my father who is now the fourth-generation. One day I plan to be the fifth. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken nearly every aspect of our lives, my career goals haven’t changed. Right now I’m in my third year at the University of Minnesota on the Twin Cities campus studying Animal Science and Agricultural Food and Business Management. Upon receiving both of my Bachelor’s Degrees I would like to intern abroad for a period of time possibly working on a dairy farm in either Germany or New Zealand. Once I return to the U.S. I hope to get a job working at a dairy consulting company or a similar job that would allow me to work closely with dairy farmers across the Midwest. After 5-7 years of working directly in the dairy industry I plan to return to my family’s dairy farm. Although there will be some that say returning to a farm that only milks 65 cows doesn’t make any sense, and to a certain extent they may be true. However, I would argue that it doesn’t make any sense to not at least try what you love to do in life. I’m fully aware of the challenges that I will face, but I have the drive, determination, and dedication to make it work. I also understand that I will need to change the way that I dairy farm in order to make it work. Over the past year I have had many conversations with my dad about the direction I want the farm to go in moving forward. We decided together to start a solar energy project in which 120 solar panels will be installed to offset 45% of our current energy consumption. We have also decided to incorporate a modified version of rotational grazing next spring in order to reduce a portion of our feed costs while hopefully maintaining production with the appropriate mixture of legumes and forages. Another element I would like to incorporate in the future is rotational crossbreeding. There has been quite a bit of research done, especially at the University of Minnesota in support of crossbreeding. There are many benefits to crossbreeding, but the biggest is more profit per day in the herd compared to Holsteins. I’ve come to realize that agriculture is a changing industry that needs strong young leaders to continue moving it forward. I look forward to becoming one of these strong leaders and towards my role in improving agriculture for future generations.