July 1 2024 12:02 PM

    Being born and raised in Hilmar, Calif., has led me to where I am today.

    Most kids spend their summer break riding bikes, going to the beach, or visiting amusement parks. My relaxing version of a summer vacation was filled with the smell of cow manure, early mornings, and a peak of adrenaline once I entered the showring at our local county fair.

    I was born and raised a third-generation dairy farmer in Hilmar, Calif., a small rural community within California’s Central Valley. While there are many perceptions of California being filled with celebrities and the latest trends, Hilmar’s four stoplights and narrow roads would prove otherwise. Growing up in Hilmar’s small but vibrant dairy community, it was only fitting that I began showing dairy cattle at 9 years old.

    Once I began showing for my local 4-H group, Hilmar Colony 4-H, my involvement within the agriculture industry sparked. Showing one cow at the county fair soon became five, I learned how to operate an RFID machine for our dairy herd checks, and ultimately, I became more active in our local 4-H and FFA programs. After graduating high school, I served as a California FFA State Officer, where I got to share my passion for agriculture with thousands of students across the state. With every opportunity and experience that I’ve had, I would be remiss if I didn’t credit the community that got me to where I am today.

    With one highway and several pothole covered roads, Hilmar has a human population that is easily outnumbered by its population of dairy cows. Despite not having much, this town has curated a sense of community and belonging for not only myself, but also for several generations of families that reside there. Being raised in Hilmar shaped my passion and drive for the dairy industry, showing me what it means to play an active role in agriculture.

    Truth be told, Hilmar is not the only inspirational small town that’s out there. Many of us have places that serve as more than just our town; these are the places that we call home. As the Hoard’s Dairyman editorial intern, I will have the opportunity to not only interact with dairy farmers, but also to share their stories and see the places that they call home.

    As an energetic advocate for agriculture and all things dairy, I’m excited to be working for Hoard’s Dairyman as the 36th editorial intern this summer. I can’t wait to learn and hear from all the people who help make the dairy industry our home.

    Morgan Oliveira

    Morgan Oliveira is the 2024 Hoard’s Dairyman editorial intern. She grew up working on her family’s dairy farm near Hilmar, Calif. As a student at Cal Poly University, Oliveira is majoring in agriculture communications.