Choosing a career in agriculture always felt right to me. Although I didn’t grow up on a farm, I can trace my family’s industry roots back to the dairy farm my great-grandparents owned and operated in the late 1800s. Following in their footsteps feels special. My interest in ag is future-focused, too. As our global population continues to grow, feeding the world will become an increasingly important job. I see myself working behind the scenes to help producers meet this challenge and am gaining experiences today that will position me as a more effective professional.

While pursuing an agribusiness major, I’ve held several internships and am currently working with Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW). My role with DFW involves collaborating with dairy farmers from across the state to prepare for June Dairy Month. Interning with DFW has helped me connect the dots between establishing new markets, funding dairy-related research, educating consumers, and showcasing the economic contribution that dairy makes to our state. It brings what I’ve been learning to life, and it makes a difference.

Serving a bigger purpose

People in my generation want to work in a field where we can find success — and meaning. Developing my skills to meet future needs was a major motivator for me to pursue internships that put me in touch with farmers and dairy industry allies. June Dairy Month does that.

Breakfast on the farm events that are popular in June help the public associate the milk and cheese on the menu with the personal stories of local farming families. Consumers learn how farms in their community use the latest technology to ensure animal comfort and high-quality products, which builds trust in Wisconsin dairy. People appreciate the opportunity to see what goes into getting a gallon of milk on the grocery shelves. I love my role in tying it together.

Growing engaged leaders

The more I’ve explored the agriculture industry, the more opportunities have unfolded. Encouraging ag education from a young age can make a huge impact on students. My Slinger High School FFA chapter launched a program at our local middle school to help kids see themselves as part of an industry that contributes $104.8 billion to the Wisconsin economy — $45.6 billion come from dairy alone.

Building a leadership pipeline was also the goal of my internship with Professional Dairy Producers (PDP), where I connected youth to producers and allied industry members for hands-on experiences. Mentees loved getting behind-the-scenes exposure to different agricultural environments. It made what they were studying in the classroom applicable. Students asked in-depth questions that helped farmers think about their work through a fresh lens, too.

Currently, one out of every nine jobs in Wisconsin is agriculture-related. My journey to discover which one is right for me has put me in touch with knowledgeable, passionate people who have inspired me at every step. From my high school involvement in FFA to my current internship with DFW, I’ve witnessed the power connections play in promoting and growing the ag industry. I look forward to a rewarding career supporting farmers, producers, and consumers.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2024
June 13, 2024
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