Lucas Sjostrom, 2008
University of Minnesota
After a two-year stint as a Hoard's Dairyman editor, we moved our family to my wife's Minnesota farm in early 2013. I loved my time at Hoard's, and my wife, Alise, and I loved our time in southern Wisconsin - it really is the epicenter of the world's dairy industry. But it was time to return "home" after our daughter, Lucy, was born in October 2012.
We are in the very early stages of launching Redhead Creamery, a farmstead cheese plant, on our Brooten, Minn., dairy as soon as feasible. But for now I spend the majority of my time in graduate school back at the University of Minnesota with hands-on dairy research. Outside of class and my research project, my wife and I started SJO Communications, our free-lance writing and marketing company. I also help my parents-in-law with chores, milking the 170 cows on the farm, every morning I can.
Before working at Hoard's Dairyman, I worked in government relations and communications for Holstein Association USA in Vermont. There I used many of the contacts and skills I picked up during my Hoard's Dairyman internship to advocate on behalf of our dairy producer-members.
After I acquire my master's degree in 2014 or 2015, the future is uncertain. I may go for a Ph.D., work more at the farm or cheese plant, or find something else to do.
My time at Hoard's taught me that life is all about connections. Hoard's Dairyman goes out of its way to be there in-person. My summer internship exposed me to all of the behind-the-scenes volunteer work Hoard's employees do to ensure they stay connected with all facets of the industry. The idea that having "boots on the ground" to strengthen connections bodes well for Hoard's Dairyman magazine in information gathering but can also be used across our industry to continue to look for new information to better your life and business. The internship also gave me the opportunity to travel, which I think is a skill that is learned, not just an experience. I visited farms in several states during my internship and totaled 30 states by the time I "retired" as a Hoard's Dairyman editor.
I also learned how much I enjoyed writing. A Hoard's Dairyman editor presented the internship at a national ADSA-Student Affiliate Division meeting. Before that, I never thought about the intersection of writing and the dairy industry. Writing was always something I enjoyed, but the Hoard's Dairyman internship taught me how to use it as an effective tool I will be able to leverage for the rest of my life. Luckily, I had the opportunity to return to the place where I honed my skills and gain connections I'll use for the rest of my life.