Thank you for your generous scholarship. We are so lucky to have a community like agriculture that supports students both through learning opportunities and financially. Thank you!
I first became interested in a career in veterinary medicine through my exposure to agriculture throughout my childhood. This general exposure and interest increased as I joined 4-H and FFA. It was then expanded through my time working for Pipestone System, Minnesota Pork, both as an ambassador and an intern, Christensen Farms and Swine Vet Center, PA. Additionally, I enjoyed my animal science classes as an undergraduate and further understanding the science of raising healthy animals and producing safe food through my veterinary classes.
As a veterinarian, I believe the best impacts I can have are two-fold. First, I can help my producers be profitable in adding value to their business through health and other services. Second, I can use my voice as a vet to be an advocate for the pork industry, and by extension all of agriculture.
Directly upon graduation I will work to improve on-farm health directly by working with producers through Pipestone Veterinary Services. Eventually, I would love to change this more hands-on role to a broader outlook, engaging in a system-level approach to health, business and animal well-being. As a nursing assistant in high school, I realized that the best nurses first worked as assistants. I believe this also holds true for management positions in the veterinary world. The best CEOs, researchers and organization heads, first worked in barns with producers.
While this may be my first goal as a veterinarian, I believe I can additionally contribute by leveraging my veterinary degree in other parts of life. Working with the Minnesota and National Pork Boards, at the Sioux Empire Fair’s Discovery Barn, and interacting with my classmates as an undergraduate and now graduate student have taught me the importance of consumer education and outreach. Because of the controversial nature of many swine health, housing and welfare issues, our industry needs well-educated, outspoken proponents of our best management practices. Similar to how the best managers need a background in barn experience, the best communicators pull from their own lives to help connect with consumers. This communication is needed in all aspects of agriculture.
If we, as food animal industries, are not vocal about our animal practices, other, less educated people, will be. Consumer beliefs shape everything about our industries. How people feel about antibiotics, housing, welfare, taxes and markets influence producers, veterinarians and legislators. Policy makers take their cues from consumers, consumers whose beliefs are swayed by industry representatives like myself. Research shows being a veterinarian will give my words the weight they need to impact consumer opinion and legislative policy. Being active in organizations like Minnesota Pork, the National Pork Board and the National Pork Producers Council is a vital part of how I can contribute to agriculture.