Hello! It’s the interns again! Today we thought that we would give you a little background on ourselves, and what lead us to be where we are today, and why we want to be involved in the agricultural industry today and in our futures. We hope you enjoy learning a little more about our backgrounds today!
I grew up in a farming community in a rural Illinois town, in a family that raises cattle and farms corn and soybean crop. I have a passion for the agriculture industry that is never going to burn out, and it is because of the people around me who used their passion to ignite mine. This is an industry that is a huge, nationwide family, and advocating for the industry is important now more than it has been. I want to be an advocate for this industry and help young people like myself to find their passion and grow future generations of agricultural advocates.
Agriculture has played a huge role in my life. I owe everything I have accomplished to the agriculture industry because, without it, I do not think that I would be where I am today. I wasn’t born into agriculture, but when my mom re-married, I was thrown into it headfirst. As soon as I was old enough to participate in 4-H, my stepdad, Donnie Brandenburg bought my first set of pigs to show at the county fair, and from then on, I was hooked. I got to grow up showing cattle, swine, and goats at local, state, and national levels. From day one, he has been my number one supporter and has given me everything I needed to succeed and more. He did not have to do the things he did for me, but he chose to anyway and I will forever be grateful to him for staring me on the path I am on. I truly owe where I am today to him. He taught me responsibility, leadership, and respect by giving me the opportunity to do what I spent 14 years loving. If I had to give any advice to a young showman in the industry it would be don’t blink, because the summers of showing truly do go by faster than you think.
I grew up raising and showing sheep on my family’s acreage. My dad grew up raising and showing just about every species possible and wanted his kids to be able to have that experience as well. Raising sheep is what began my interest in the livestock industry, as well as the agriculture industry as a whole. I give so much credit to my parents for giving me the opportunity to be involved in this industry at a young age and for always helping me throughout the last 21 years.
I was exposed to agriculture on both sides of my family and was always eager to learn more about the different segments. My paternal grandparents raise donkeys and feed out cattle, while my mom’s sister and her family raise Angus cattle. Being from Nebraska, the cattle industry is something that I continue to learn about and peak interest in.
After joining FFA my freshman year of high school, I was intrigued by the disconnect between consumers and producers. As I went through my four years of high school, I knew that I wanted to be involved in helping educate people about agriculture and bridge that gap. FFA is truly when I found my passion in the agriculture industry and the reason I went into agricultural communications. My FFA advisor, Kris Spath, helped push me to better myself professionally, personally, and as an agriculturist. I learned a lot from her throughout my time in FFA, and still am today.
Agriculture has been in my life since I was young, and it will be my future as well. I am so thankful to have grown up in this industry and can’t wait to see how it grows and adapts in the upcoming years.
How did I get involved in agriculture? Both of my parents grew up showing livestock, but I feel my passion came from their parents’ love for it. My dad’s parents raised commercial sheep and goats, while my mom’s parents raised registered Limousin cattle. It was not until I was in kindergarten when I started showing lambs at the county fair, and third grade when I showed my first string of cattle. I owe Val Wasinger, a Shorthorn and Simmental breeder of Winnebago, Minn. the credit for my passion for the livestock industry. I grew up showing cattle for her, as she grew up showing cattle for my grandfather. She has mentored me since I was 11 years old, and I still go to her for everything and anything. Additionally, I owe my passion for the agriculture industry to the National FFA Organization. I have gained many friendships and networking opportunities through that great organization. Between going to different camps to state and national convention, I have gained different qualities I never thought I could.
As I have grown into the person I am today, I have been able to know right from wrong through my parents raising me, however as I have moved far away from home first for college, and now for my internship, I have taken all that they have taught me about livestock, life, and perspective with me. I have been able to continue to grow even when they are not watching my every move. You may not choose your family, but I would pick them a million times over. Every part of your life happens for a reason, good or bad. You need to learn from your success and failure to grow.
This may be a lot, but that is how I have grown a passion for agriculture, and I would not change it for anything. In today’s world, each agriculturist needs to be an advocate. With the bridge between rural and urban becoming larger, we need to continue to show the rest of the world what agriculture and livestock industries are truly like and not what the outsiders view them as. One day there will be no outsiders and we will all be educated.