What I Wish People Knew

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

​“I believe in the future of agriculture” is just a small part of the FFA creed that students are required to learn in agriculture classes in high school. While they had the privilege of having these classes and this organization offered to them, I did not. I do believe in the future of agriculture, but my story started off a little differently than most. 

I wish people knew that growing up, agriculture was not the main focus of my education. I was not offered FFA, or various agriculture classes in my high school, with a graduating class of about 350 students. Since I grew up in Iowa I was obviously aware that corn was grown in a field, chocolate milk didn’t come from brown cows, and that food didn’t just come from the grocery store. I may not be the typical “city kid,” but coming to Iowa State with the dream of becoming a veterinarian, being placed in Animal Science was quite challenging at first. 

I wish people realized how hard I had to work during my first year at Iowa State University as an Animal Science (AnS) major. Most students you ask will instantly say that AnS 101 or AnS 114 is a breeze, whereas I found these classes a little overwhelming. Although I had been to a grocery store and realized that my food came from a farm, I had no idea that you could select from various livestock breeds to produce the best quality meat or dairy products. I had no clue that various markings on a horse had names recognizing each, or never cared to wonder about the gestation length of a goat. I was constantly studying, while my roommate (with a beef background) just went to class and took the tests. Although I often became frustrated, I decided to stick with animal science, mainly because of the people I surrounded myself with.

Agriculture students are not the easiest people to make friends with at first. Like most, they tend to stick with people who have the same interest as them. If I had a dollar for every person that asked me “What kind of livestock do you raise / show?” I’d be rich. After telling them I didn’t raise anything, they followed with, “so why are you here? Who do you know here?” Once I got past these questions, I began to make friendships that will last a lifetime. The real trick was… Once I started wearing 7 jeans, and bought a pair of Twisted X’s, I was a shoe in.

You’re probably wondering at this point why I didn’t just give up, and become a realtor like my mom or major in journalism. The truth of the matter is… I loved the challenge.

I wish that people knew that although there are hardships coming into animal science with a non ag background, that once you overcome these, there is no better feeling. Throughout animal science I have studied beef science, swine science, biochemistry, genetics, nutrition, etc. These classes were not the slightest bit easy for me. Although beef, swine, and nutrition were classes that seemed foreign to me, my interests changed from companion animals to livestock. Taking these few animal science courses required for my major, lead me to new opportunities that would have never come my way if not for talking with my peers. 

Through networking in beef science, I gained information on an internship that I figured there wasn’t the slightest chance I’d get. To my surprise they hired me as a PR intern, and constantly tell me how I have improved since I first started. Without animal science, I never would’ve gained my current internship, leading me to realize that I have a passion for agriculture, and enjoy utilizing my writing skills to promote various aspects of the industry.

I wish people knew that even though I haven’t grown up around agriculture for over 20+ years, with just three years of animal science under my belt, I see agriculture as an industry that I would be lucky to advocate for. I see older generations teaching younger generations tools that will forever help them in life. They teach them hard work, passion, patience and efficiency. I see children working hard, and gaining skills that no classroom could ever teach them. I see people in the industry coming together when others are in crisis. I see farmers feeding our population while getting critiqued from not only anti-ag activists, but consumers as well. These realizations have come from taking various AnS courses as well as creating projects in AnS 211, Issues Facing Animal Science.

I wish people knew that when I discuss matters in animal science that I understand that I do not know everything. What I do know is that I grew up with a diverse background, and can relate to the consumers who do not fully understand some of the practices done in agriculture. With this understanding, I am able to comprehend the scientific parts of the industry, and communicate them to the consumers with concerns.

I wish people knew that someday I hope to introduce my children to agriculture. Whether I marry a guy who grew up on a farm, a guy who grew up showing livestock, or even if I marry someone who has no clue about agriculture... I will take my children to all of the farms of my friends that I made in college. I am determined that my kids have opportunities that I was not offered. 

I wish people knew that my desire to pursue a career in the agriculture industry has overpowered any of my fears. Majoring in animal science has lead me to gaining knowledge over the agricultural industry. I hope to someday utilize this knowledge when pursuing a career in agricultural communications.

I wish people knew that I have animal science to thank for everything that has come my way in the last three years. Without animal science I never would’ve found a passion for livestock, and wouldn’t have my PR internship at the Hansen Ag Student Learning Center. I will forever be grateful for starting off as pre vet, and being placed into the animal science department at Iowa State University.

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