June 6 2022 08:00 AM

They say one moment can change a life, and in this case they are correct, because one decision I made as a kid set the course of my life.

This year's editorial intern enjoyed exhibiting cattle at the county fair.

In a little Northwestern Wisconsin town called Osceola, there was once a young girl who noticed a particularly interesting bus stop on her route when she was in kindergarten. There was a long dirt road and a farm with many animals at the end of it. A girl her age got on the bus from that stop, so she decided to make friends with her. That young girl is me, and that’s the best decision I ever made!

This connection led me to working on my neighbor’s Holstein farm. Playdates at their house turned into feeding calves, which turned into helping with barn cleaning and sometimes milking. These experiences led to an adoration for this family and the industry.

I have also been lucky enough to explore agriculture through organizations such as 4-H and FFA. My time on my neighbor’s dairy farm inspired me to become more involved and to learn more about the industry, so I quickly joined my local 4-H club and eventually showed cattle from their farm. Additionally, I joined our school’s FFA chapter and tried out activities such as prepared public speaking and dairy cattle evaluation. This all led to me judging cattle and competing in dairy quiz bowl for both organizations on the local, state, and national levels.

I will be a senior this fall at the University of Minnesota, studying agricultural communication and marketing with minors in agricultural and food business management and animal science. In school, I also enjoy being involved in the Gopher Dairy Club, the Agricultural Business Club, Lambda Delta Phi Sorority, and the Agricultural Education, Communication, and Marketing club. Outside of school, I enjoy soccer, reading, eating food, and riding my horse named Peanut.

This summer, I am excited to serve as the Hoard’s Dairyman editorial intern. My goals for this internship are to practice my writing skills, foster new and existing relationships, and learn as much as I can from the people around me. After graduation, I hope to utilize the agricultural communication skills that I have been developing for many years to inform consumers about the true dairy story. It is a continuous and important battle to connect people to agriculture, and it’s one challenge I do not plan to give up on.

I’m looking forward to connecting with many producers and fellow dairy enthusiasts to the industry moving forward!

Mikayla Peper

Mikayla grew up near Osceola, Wis. She discovered her passion for the dairy industry while working on her neighbors’ Holstein dairy farm. That spurred her involvement in 4-H and FFA, and following graduation from Osceola High School, she headed to the University of Minnesota to pursue a degree in agricultural communication and marketing. During the school year, she worked as a website designer for the University of Minnesota department of animal science, and last summer, she was a farmer relations intern for Midwest Dairy. Peper is serving as the 2022 Hoard’s Dairyman editorial intern.