May 24 2021 08:30 AM

A foundation from my family’s dairy farm gave me a spark of passion, but a flame ignited through my industry-related involvements led me to Hoard’s Dairyman.

Jessica Schmitt

I have been known as my father’s little helper since the day I could walk. Growing up on a family-run dairy near Fort Atkinson, Iowa, all hands were on deck. As a toddler, the moment I had the ability to stand on my own, a bottle was put in my hands and I was ready to feed bottle calves. My parents, my sister, Mariah, and I did our fair share to maintain our generational family heirloom.

As I grew up, my responsibilities become more extensive. From assisting in genetic selections to discussing management practices, a strong spark was instilled in me. I found a passion for the dairy industry and soon knew I had to explore more opportunities to learn and connect. By joining 4-H and FFA, I was able to satisfy that need to surround myself with people like me.

Through showing cattle at the local and state dairy shows and participating in judging competitions, I became more interested in dairy than ever. A short time later, I was selected as my county’s dairy princess, which granted me the opportunity to run for the state title. After much practice and anticipation, I was honored to be crowned the Iowa Dairy Princess.

With my crown and sash, I gained an initial interest in communications. I quickly learned my favorite conversations came with fellow producers and those associated with dairy. A shared bond over dairy made me want to continue celebrating accomplishments and have forward-thinking discussions for the sake of our community.

My burning flame for dairy pushed me to continue my education at Iowa State University. Currently, I am a junior studying dairy science, agricultural communications, and international agriculture. I am eager to continue igniting this passion as the editorial intern for Hoard’s Dairyman.

Jessica Schmitt grew up working on her family’s dairy farm near Fort Atkinson, Iowa. She recently completed her junior year at Iowa State University where she is triple majoring in dairy science, international agriculture, and agricultural and life sciences education with a communications option. Schmitt is serving as the 2021 Hoard’s Dairyman editorial intern this summer.