May 22 2023 08:56 AM

Being involved in the cattle industry has influenced all aspects of my life.

It seems crazy how a four-legged animal can determine the direction of your life. Sometimes I like to sit and think about what my life would be like if I had not grown up on a farm. I normally think of things like I would have had more free time to hang out with friends or maybe more money to spend. Every time though, my mind trails back to how wonderful my life has been by having this farm experience, and I would not have it any other way.

I grew up raising and showing Hereford cattle with my parents and two sisters. We exhibit at the local, state, and national level. My enthusiasm for showing persuaded my parents to let me show other species, including sheep, swine, and goats. I was also heavily involved in both 4-H and FFA.

My passion for the dairy industry was not immediate. Thanks to my great-grandparents and their dairy farm, I began showing Holsteins at the age of 10. Since then, my family has begun our own herd of Holsteins at Plessed-Rose Dairy.

Over the years I became involved in dairy activities such as quiz bowl and judging. When it came time to apply for college, I decided I would choose a school that allowed me to judge dairy cattle, and this resulted in me attending Virginia Tech. I chose to be a dairy science major and have not looked back. During college, I have held multiple leadership roles in clubs including Dairy Club, Alpha Zeta, and Young Farmers.

While raising cattle, I have experienced good and bad days. I have learned what it means to have loved and lost. I know the time and work it takes to care for animals. My dairy cows have instilled a passion in me that will never go away.

As the Hoard’s Dairyman editorial intern, I have many goals. I hope to continue to improve my writing skills and bring stories to the reader in a fun and unique way. I want to build deeper relationships with dairy industry professionals. Above all, I want all readers to know why the dairy cow and the industry behind it are so important.

I am excited to be working for Hoard’s Dairyman this summer as the 35th editorial intern. I look forward to connecting with producers and dairy enthusiasts.

Madison Sifford

Madison Sifford is the 2023 Hoard’s Dairyman Editorial Intern. She is a student at Virginia Tech majoring in dairy science and communications. Madison grew up in North Carolina before moving with her parents and sisters to Goldvein, Va. Her family raises Holsteins on their Plessed-Rose Dairy, and they also have a small Hereford cow-calf operation.