Monday, December 30, 2013

Come to a New Zealand sheep farm. 'Ewe' wouldn't believe it!

New ZealandWool is a hot commodity in New Zealand. So of course, we saw lots of sheep on our travels! However, not all these stops were on the itinerary. On day four, we had an unexpected delay when our bus pulled off the side of the road and would not start again. What luck, right? In fact, the best luck came from our professor seeing a sheep farm shearing some ewes that we drove past about one mile down the road.

Bus Broke DownWe had to make a choice. Do we:

a) sit on the side of a highway for two hours awaiting someone from the bus company to help the situation?

b) take a little tramp (Kiwi term for hike) down the road to see if the sheep farmers will let us come on their farm?

Option b was selected!

After risking our lives walking down the highway that seemed to never end, 40 students arrived at this sheep farm. Now, think about if you were working and a large group of foreigners walked up to your farm or business and asked if they could get an inside view of your operation. Would you be caught off guard, uncertain of their intentions and possibly not let the group in?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Kia Ora, New Zealand! A trip of beauty and knowledge.

New Zealand Photography
Kia Ora! Or, hello, I wish you good day! After a 10-day adventure, I made it home from New Zealand just in time for the holiday season. This trip was by far one of the most insightful, invigorating trips I have ever been on. From the food and culture to the landscapes and agriculture me and 40 students from Ohio State witnessed, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

In the next few blog posts, I will elaborate on some specific things I learned during this study abroad. Until then, enjoy some of the photos I captured along the way. The biggest learning moment I had: always, ALWAYS carry an extra battery for your camera. I didn't and was lucky. Next time, I might not be!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Why not disconnect?

Abominable snowman with smart phone
Photo from
What is the purpose of social media? To stay connected with all your friends, relatives, peers, coworkers, professors, animals and long-lost Abominable snowman, right? It is nice to have the minute-to-minute updates from all the people and news sources in our lives. But sometimes, I think it is down right obnoxious, annoying and tiring.

There are many times I just want to disconnect for a while. It is refreshing to take a break from the hullabaloo of social media that can wear us down. Whenever I go home for a weekend or break, I try my best to keep my iPhone away so I can embrace the present people around me. And you know what? It is less stressful that way!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Leading through food and farming

Mara, Libby, Derek, Lauren and I were a few of the
college students in attendance at OFFLF.
The agriculture industry is filled with leaders. Who are these men and women leading the way for the future of our industry you might ask? Well, after attending the Farm and Food Leadership Forum and a session of the 95th Ohio Farm Bureau Annual Meeting, they are the people who are making efforts each day to advocate about food, fuel and fiber in our country and nation. They are members of Farm Bureau.

The main event I attended was this new Farm and Food Leadership Forum (#OFFLF). Sessions were held to discuss topics in agriculture from leadership, trends and issues, board functions, and more. It was an insightful day and definitely worth postponing my studying for finals this week!

At the bottom of this post is the Storify about the events that have occurred this week. Many young, passionate people have been sharing their experiences on social media. We can see what they are doing and advocating all over the place! However, their are some unspoken voices we should share.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

No days off, but always thankful.

Coming home this holiday season, it is nice to take a break from school, relax and embrace some time at home with the family. However, when I come home, the term relax is used loosely. One thing is certain: on a farm, there are no days off. But, we are always thankful.

Thanksgiving is a day for giving thanks for the loved ones in our lives, the blessings we have been granted and the opportunities we have in America. But through the years, I think this holiday is used loosely as well. I can remember when Black Friday deals were strictly on the Friday following Thanksgiving, when no stores were open on this day, and when Christmas music and advertisements did not begin until after our turkey bellies had subsided. What has happened in recent years? I think it comes down to greed and a lack of appreciation for why we get this day off work: to be thankful.

Just like some of the store workers, law enforcement officers, journalists and other public employees who still work on holidays, farmers do as well. But amid the labor and work we endure, I think those in the rural community are the most appreciative of the day because they continue to give.

Tonight, I helped dad with livestock chores. We fed the cattle and goats their grain and hay.
Dad pours the mixed feed into the feed bunk for the
cattle every morning and evening. They are also fed
organically grown hay.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Time and change will surely show

It is hard to comprehend how fast time goes by sometimes. We take for granted many things in our lives and lose touch of some that have served as the foundation for our development. This past week reopened my eyes that yes, time moves very quickly.

Smirnoff (yes, he is named Smirnoff) and his family
are off to a new home.

No More Alpacas. 

I said it. I am officially out of the alpaca business. My two males and two females were sold to a farmer in Indiana. It has not hit me quite yet, as I am still in Columbus for our last few weeks of school, but when I go home and cannot see these beautiful creatures, it will be different.

Since my 16th birthday, I have owned alpacas. Now, 21 years old and preparing to enter the professional world, I knew I could not keep the alpacas -- due to uncertainty of my location and future. After graduation and some years down the road, time and change will surely show if I can get involved with the livestock industry once more. Fingers crossed!

Last Football Game.

Panorama of the Skull Session in St. John's Arena.

This group of amazing senior girls at our last home game --
in AA seats of course. 
This weekend was my last Ohio State football game as a student. From attending Skull Session to singing Carmen Ohio in the Shoe brought a fast realization that my senior year is halfway complete. It is crazy to think that I attended my first OSU football game four years ago. As we celebrate #BeatMichigan week, I also remember attending my first Ohio State v. (that state up north) game. I never claimed to be an avid Buckeye fan, but have grown to have much pride and spirit for my team. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

6 Roles in 6 Years

***UPDATE 11/26/13: New article added to completed articles from convention. See bottom of post.

Just like a large portion of youth involved in agriculture, FFA played a large role in my leadership development and passion for the industry. This past week was the 86th National FFA Convention & Expo and as I was recollecting on the fun I have had in the FFA, I discovered that for the past six years, I have attending national convention. And in each of those years, I have had a different role as to why I was there!

2008 - First National Convention Experience

This was my first time traveling to Indianapolis with some members of the Otsego FFA Chapter.

2009 - Competing in general livestock evaluation contest

Through high school, I was active in livestock evaluation and our team won the state FFA contest to advance to the national contest held at convention! This was an amazing experience and even though we were 11th overall (and I was 22nd individually), we learned a lot and had a fun time judging. 

2010 - National FFA Band

Friday, October 18, 2013

I want an interview, don't you?

Professional Attire
'Tis the season for job hunting. Whether you are seeking on-campus employment, an internship or co-op, or full-time big kid jobs, fall is the prime season for recruitment. The past three years, I have been used to the process. It starts with applying online, attending job fairs and waiting on the selection process to be complete so I knew what I would be doing next spring or summer. This time around, it is a little different.

I am now on the hunt for that "big girl job". But, I have come to find out the process is not quite as simple as looking for internships. There are many more factors, numbers and details that make the selection more competitive, more vigorous and more exhausting. However, as I have detailed in previous posts, there are some things I have come to look for in potential full-time employers. Knowing those details makes it much easier!

Just as I look for ways to stand out to a company and help them see my greatest assets, you must do that too. Here are some tips I have about the application and interview process after wondering yesterday's College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Career Fair and talking with other students doing the same thing.

Caroline Weihl portfolio
  • Compile your materials. You need to bring different supporting documents depending on the situation. For applying online via email, I always attach a personalized cover letter and resume. At a job fair, always bring copies of your resume to give to recruiters. Even if you have already applied online, they take notes on the hard copy you provide. Business cards are a plus as well, especially when more than one representative is working the booth. Once you reach the interview stage, it might be handy to have a portfolio of your work samples and other materials that can visually support your claims you made at the career fair or phone interview.
  • Research what YOU want in a company. Self reflection is important to weigh your talents, skills, goals and requirements of an employer. Make a list of the qualities you are looking for, from location, salary and culture to sector of the industry, benefits and growth potential.
  • Find matching companies. After you have compiled research of what you want and need, start searching. If you know you would be more happy working for a nonprofit organization, why is a private company in your saved jobs?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Who will you become?

It is remarkable to think that it is already halfway through my fall semester of senior year. Time sure goes by quickly when you are having fun! As I begin interviewing and concluding many activities through this semester and school year, there is one underlying question that I ask myself.

Who am I becoming?

Change is a natural occurrence experienced by all. From interests, style, personality and future ambitions, people change. It can be subtle or significant. But, not all change is self-driven. Some is influenced. Much of that influence is from the people you spend your time with.

I have learned through different experiences that you become more like the people you spend most time around. That is why to cultivate the most personal growth, you should surround yourself around others smarter, more humble, more ambitious and more successful than yourself. They can teach you things, and you can learn.

Dad's Weekend Alpha Xi DeltaBeing a leader is not just learning, but also sharing and teaching your knowledge. Therefore, you should not just surround yourself with others greater than you, but others who you can help develop. This weekend, I was surrounded by many great people.

On Saturday, Psi chapter of Alpha Xi Delta held our Dad's Weekend event. Our dad's joined us for dinner and to watch the OSV vs. Northwestern football game! It was quite enjoyable, even though the venue was almost too small for all of us. My dad came down for the evening after working cattle all afternoon. Sometimes, I don't appreciate his expertise and passion as much as I should. But when I spend more time talking with him about it, I see where I got my interests from. It was also fun for him and the other dads to mingle and the sisters to be sincerely excited at the gathering.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The culture of agriculture

Culture is a component increasingly important as I continue the career search. However, the past two days at the CropLife America annual meeting reminded me there is more than just culture of a company.

It was humbling to be surrounded by individuals involved with organizations devoted to improving modern agriculture practices. As the only student representative from AFA, I brought a unique perspective to the conversations with leading companies in crop protection services. Whether we discussed how agriculture is continuing to evolve, ways that AFA and their organizations could collaborate or college football (since we all know Ohio State has a great program), the environment was refreshing. People in agriculture have a distinct quality that makes the conversation natural and sincere. There is a deeper culture in agriculture.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Do good for the greater good

At this moment, I am on a charter bus headed to East Lansing, Mi. Why? Some sisters of Alpha Xi Delta are on our way to Michigan State University to recruit women to join the first Alpha Xi chapter at MSU!

This is not just exciting for our national organization to continue expansion around the U.S., but for my sisters and me to step outside our comfort zones and do an act of good for others.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Two significant birthdays for Sept. 17th

Image courtesy of National Archives website.
Today marks the birthdays for two important pieces of American history: The Ohio State University and the U.S. Constitution.

In 1787, James Madison took his initiative and beliefs that the Articles of Confederation were not enough to build a strong federal government. So, the Constitution of the United States was written. Today, just 226 years later, this document signifies the establishment and purpose of our government and protects the right of American citizens.

Today, this document is not just referenced in my history course and in the courtroom. It represents the freedom our country has to be a leader across the globe.

This is also the date of something else near and dear to the Buckeyes around the world. What first started as Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, The Ohio State University began 140 years ago in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State was not just one of the first land grant institutions around the country. It is a leader in by providing extension education for youth and adults, and also implementing research as a core value of the university.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Think like an economist

This weekend, I had another meeting in Kansas City for AFA. This trip focused on conference prep, but as always, personal develop. With that, we conducted a lunch visit with UMB Bank. I have become more adapt to reading the financial articles on LinkedIn and the occasional Wall Street Journal. But when talking with businessmen and futuristic economists like Peter DeSilva and Mike Hagedorn, they brought in a whole new perspective about the agriculture industry.

UMB Bank
AFA Student Advisory Team at UMB Bank.
Sometimes, you need to think like an economist. That is why many farmers are doing to be profitable and successful business people. Today, many farmers are specialized. One example is my father. Nearly 10 years ago, my dad transitioned from conventional to organic farming of his corn, wheat, soybean and hay crops. For reference, my dad has been farming since the age of 15 and attained personal acreage at age 18. In his mid-50s, this was quite a change from the usual farming routine he had for over half of his career.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"The Scarecrow" scare tactic

The scarecrow is an original creature used to prevent pests like birds and small mammals from harming crops in farm fields. This old school scare tactic has been outdated as farmers and ranchers have adapted and integrated new protective actions like nets and aluminum "reflectors".

However, there is another business that is trying to reinvent the scarecrow as a scare tactic. Chipotle, the Mexican food chain restaurant, has created a new application for iPhone and iPad called The Scarecrow. This app allows users to portray a Scarecrow and "join the quest for wholesome, sustainable food." Please watch the video below that depicts the backstory of the game.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Take a bite from our ethics

This semester I am taking a media law and ethics class, as well as an ethical leadership class. Little did I know when scheduling last spring that these two would compliment one another so well. In the past few weeks, we have reviewed the structure of ethical decision-making, how they are perceived by the public, media and law and what our ethical job may be as either citizens or journalists. It has prompted some thoughts in my mind about the correlation in agriculture and ethics.

In recent news, we see many negative stories, horrific imagery and shrewd explanations of viewpoints and events. Some things shared may be ethical or unethical. In relation to the agriculture industry, there has been increasing conversation about:

  • Livestock production methods and housing
  • Crop production -- organic, GMOs or other
  • Food locality
  • Corporate or "Big Ag" (whatever that means)
  • Animal welfare and activist groups

If you study the theoretical meaning behind ethics, it is "the analysis, evaluation and promotion of correct conduct and/or good character, according to the best available standards." Layman's terms: 
what people perceive as "good" evolves over time based on society beliefs.

I raise cattle for beef.
We raise our cattle for freezer beef,
plain and simple.
Boer goats
Ginger and Cinnamon--two goats
from my farm.
In the agriculture industry, we are judged by our ethics. Farmers are supported as being honest, caring, responsible laborers for the land and life. However, most general public do not support "farming" based on the bullets above and others. 

As agriculturalists, we often times argue, "we are providing for a growing world", "without farmers, there is no food" and "we are open to share our agriculture story with you". All of this is true. However, many don't understand the ethics behind our statements. 

Farmers and ranchers are more open than ever to share their businesses with everyday people. Our (myself included as a farmer) methods of outreach have evolved over time. More people want to understand or learn about food production. This is where the disconnect and ethical situations come in. 

On my farm, we care for the health and welfare of our cattle and goats. It is to our benefit to raise them in a clean, safe environment so that they can be healthy, grow and serve their purpose -- go to market. Our ethics as individuals and farmers motivate us to do just that and other farmers and ranchers do the same.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I don't have time. Actually, I just don't make time.

Time: it rules our lives. We plan time for meetings, set time for classes and homework, spend time with friends and family, and are always looking to save time or wish it by faster. Why then, do we always make the excuse that we don't have time? Is it that we truly are lacking time to go meet up with colleagues or take one hour of your day to work out?

I don't think so.

Take a peak at the infographic from Socially Aware Blog (click through for more statistics).

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Begin the last chapter with the end in mind

I have made it. It is crazy to think I have already begun the last chapter... my senior year. Unfortunately, I am experiencing extreme senioritis. With five classes and many extra curricular activities, I am getting overwhelmed in "restart mode".

As I look at this last chapter, I am realizing it is time to embrace it and take it all in. These past few months, I have been given a lot of advice. Whether I am talking to business leaders or academic professors, there is one thing they all suggestion: don't wish away time.

This summer went by quick with my internship and AFA meetings and visits.
This photo is from the Ohio visits a group of us AFA students conducted.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Testimonial to Bader Rutter

Since the first day I walked through the doors of Pinnacle 2 at 13845 Bishop's Drive, I knew this would be a different summer experience. A new location, new internship focus and new company had much potential. Now that my temporary stay at Bader Rutter is complete, I am confident the people of this organization have more value than what is on the name plate. They are part of the Bader Rutter family.

Last lunch with some of my PR and writing coworkers.

I wasn't sure what this meant when I first heard it from lead executives of the agency. Now, I know it embodies more than the collaboration in meetings to produce high-quality work. BR possess a culture with appreciation and support to cultivate relationships and life-long learning. Whether I was writing a feature article, researching information on millennials or critiquing product videos, I was not seen as an intern. I was a fellow cohort to the crafty, creative minds providing innovation in every medium.

This new family taught me more than just writing, research and strategy. 
I have also learned:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Petri beef... the start of a food evolution?

As we approach upcoming years with uncertainty of population and food availability, researchers and producers are discovering new ways to feed the growing world. Scientists in London have just developed a new opportunity for our taste buds. They grew hamburger. This isn't your normal burger than you would get from a meat or grocery store. It was created from stem cells from cattle in a laboratory.

As a beef producer myself, I am skeptical this "petri burger" will taste as good as the home grown, corn-fed beef raised on my farm in Ohio. However, it raises a great discussion piece. What will be the most economical, sustainable ways to provide for a growing world? If creating petri beef can decrease food and production costs, it sounds like a great long-term plan. Once a burger doesn't cost nearly $300,000 a piece, perhaps? I would be up for a taste.

What do you think about this petri beef?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Are we qualified?

What qualifies us to blog? What influence does our writing have on others -- just because we share our stories and input? We may not be as qualified as you'd think.

Sure, it's our right to voice our thoughts and feelings. That is one reason I began my blog. I felt inspired to share my passions and life experiences with others. But what caused this sensation of bloggers like myself? Blogs have been around for years and never reached the popularity they have today.

Friday, August 2, 2013

I don't want to die

My biggest worry is to die -- without a life purpose or meaning. These past few months have made me realize that there are many ways I can create that meaning and purpose I seek.

"Life is about learning; when you stop learning, you die."

This quote by Tom Clancy could not be more clear for me. I am constantly learning about myself and the different career paths ahead and things that interest or excite me. I know that the more I continue to learn, the more sense my future will make. 

I have one work week remaining of my internship. It is unbelievable how quickly three months can fly by when at first, it seemed to move at a sluggish pace. I have met some amazing individuals and many I am sure I will stay connected with later in life. 

While having lunch with some coworkers this week, they shared much advice. Here are three key takeaways I am going to start implementing more to continue learning and so I won't die without a purpose.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Understand your past to shape your future

On Sunday, my fellow Milwaukee interns and I ventured out to gain a deeper understanding of our culture at German Fest. This was a remarkable experience and by far the best festival I have attended this summer! As you can see from the images below, there was quite a bit going on and it was fun for me to embrace the culture that makes up a large piece of my family heritage. 
Some old school Volkswagon cars were there, including the Herbie car!

Checked out some decorative beir (as they spell it in Germany) steins.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Strong leaders have discipline

Image courtesy of Columbus Monthly.
There are many different types of leaders who have various characteristics and skills. One of the strongest types of leaders I have seen have discipline. This discipline is not just following rules or criteria, but having a firm understanding of how to grow themselves and others.

One of these leaders is Urban Meyer.

I don't discuss sports a lot. Frankly, I don't understand or follow them enough to do so. However, recent news about the Ohio State Buckeyes head coach and our football players has brought to my attention a valuable leadership trait.

Discipline comes from understanding and experience. As mentioned in another article, Coach Meyer acknowledges his players have made some mistakes. Now, it is time to learn from them.

Meyer is an experienced coach in football and leadership. He must share what discipline means to him with the players and facilitate that learning. Leaders are best know for influencing others. If Meyer can do that with his level of discipline as a coach and a mentor, the Buckeyes have great potential for the upcoming season.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bite your tongue before you brand

One key lessons of advertising I have learned is said perfectly by Thumper in the Disney film, Bambi:

Unfortunately, Panera Bread Company's Live Consciously, Eat Deliciously campaign failed this test. They needed to bite their tongue before they branded. Blogger Dairy Carrie uncovered some flaws in their advertising with the use of EZ Chicken. The campaign emphasizes the chicken used in their menu items is 'antibiotic free'. However,

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Oh the places I go and the people we know

These past few months have proven to me how much I love traveling. Even though packing can get tedious and is still one of my least favorite tasks, it leads me to marvelous locations. Most recently, I ventured to Raleigh, North Carolina with AFA. Truthfully, I didn't want to leave.

Compared to our visit to California, this meeting was focused more on collaboration with corporate partnerships rather than the production agriculture. The student advisory team had the pleasure of joining leading agricultural companies, Caterpillar, Inc., BASF, Bayer CropScience and Syngenta. Not only did we present about AFA to nearly 30 business people during these visits, but we learned about their agricultural innovations as well.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

You can't stop the music

"To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable." - Aaron Copland

Alto SaxophoneMusic is one of my getaways. I enjoy listening to music on the radio or iTunes. I also love to create music. In fifth grade, I began playing the alto saxophone. I was attracted to the instrument not only for its sleek, metallic appearance, but for the vibrant, sassy tones that could be produced. I took private lessons for 9 months to advance my skills. In sixth grade, my band director approached me with a new musical opportunity. He proposed I begin playing the oboe.

OboeWith the initial idea, I thought no way! Why waste my time with a different instrument, when I could continue to improve on the sax? Well, the next day in band, my instructor brought me the instrument and played a few rhythms. I was sold. Since that day, my musical enjoyment has grown exponentially. I began taking private lessons on my oboe, was section leader for two years during marching band, first alto in jazz band and a soloist for concerts and contests. I was even selected as a 2010 National FFA Band member.

However, after high school graduation, I had lost my touch with music. I became engulfed by the "college atmosphere". My GPA, friends and student organizations took precedence over spending a few hours a day or week playing my instruments. I knew I should start playing again, but I always had some excuse avoiding the idea.

Friday, July 5, 2013

5 reasons I love July

This summer, I am embracing the good in life around me. By doing that, I am spending more time on the things I enjoy and that make me happy. July is an absolute favorite. I have narrowed down my top 5 reasons I love this month and why you might too.

5. Warm weather

This year hasn't been the best example of my first point. But, I love the summer sunshine! High temperatures are great for summer fashion, outdoor activities and of course, attaining that golden-bronze tan. One activity I have enjoyed so far is music concerts. Here is a photo (I'm on the left) from Country USA, where I witnessed artists including Billy Currington, Toby Keith and Dierks Bentley. 

4. Fair season begins

Growing up, the Wood County Fair was my summer apex. From showing cattle and goats to experiencing the fair parades, food and demolition derbies, fairs are the culmination of culture in the rural and urban community. This year, I won't make it to my home fair. However, I will be adventuring to the Wisconsin State Fair to see what promise the "Dairyland" holds. The goats on the right are my sisters goats for the fair. While I was home during Independence Day weekend, I helped her continue training them.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sweet as sugar... or a pluot

I like sweets. A lot. If there is a reasonable amount of sugar in it, odds are, I will enjoy it. One type of food I really love is fruit. On a visit to Kingsburg Orchards in Kingsburg, Calif., I discovered a new favorite: the pluot.

No, I am not making this up. Kingsburg Orchards grows nearly 3,000 varieties of fruits. These include apricots, kiwis, peaches, pears, nectarines, plums and pluots. The pluot is a hybrid of a plum and apricot. There are different variations of this fruit, depending on the parent varieties used. The ones I tasted were incredible! Very sweet and juicy. One thing that intrigued the group was the way they were grown.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Nuts...about agriculture

I've been told I have a quirky personality. And, I might be a little nuts. But, as I continue my internship and exploring the world around me, I'm not just nuts. I'm nuts about agriculture.

Caroline is nuts about agriculture

While in California, the whole "being nuts" got to my head when we learning more about nut production in the industry. Almonds and pistachios were the two kinds we focused on -- and California is the only state in the U.S. that grows them! In the past 10 years, almonds and pistachios increased in production from 500,000 tons to 2 billion tons. That is quite a jump in the market!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Meeting market needs 7,000 acres at a time

Don is showing us an onion he pulled out of the field.
Many consumers underestimate the demands that agriculturalists meet on a daily basis. It isn't just a matter of making the highest dollar.

Farmers and ranchers must meet the market needs while providing the best care for their crops and animals. They typically choose between production methods like organic or inorganic, conventionally stalled or free range and other variations. However, one farmer in Helm, Calif. isn't just picking one way to grow his crops. He has chosen to follow the market demands when planting his 7,000 acres.

These are some grapes used in making Gallo wine.
Don Cameron is the general manager at Terranova Ranch, Inc. This ranch is run with 75 employees and 150 laborers to gross $20 million a year. That is not accomplished by pure size. Don is savvy about agricultural production. He doesn't just know how to grow crops, but he has the brains of a businessman when selecting his markets.

Helm is within the San Joaquin Valley -- dry, arid lands with little water to be found. On average, California receives 7 inches of rain per year. That is a tough opponent for any farmer! However, because of irrigation practices, the state is powerful in agricultural production.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Farming families rely on fathers

Yesterday signified a day where many people honor their fathers. These are the men who not only helped bring us into the world, but hold an important role in the development of our lives. For me, it has taken more time to truly understand the sacrifices my own father makes to provide for my family. But after spending the weekend at home and reflecting on my trip to California, this next post is dedicated to the work by fathers in agriculture.

My dad and I showing Shorthorn cattle at the county fair
My dad is a man who works more than he should and receives less pay and recognition for it. Whether he is out in the field planting his crops or in the barn caring for our cattle and goats, he is constantly seeking ways to provide for our family. He is the true definition of a farming father.

This photo was from 2008 at our county fair Shorthorn open class show. The term "daddy's little girl" definitely applies to me, from my relentless need to work and complete tasks, hatred of coconut, and a passion for the agriculture industry.

Diepersloot Dairy with farm owner Bob Diepersloot
In California, the AFA team was able to see more fathers taking roles in the agriculture industry. At Diepersloot Dairy Farm, Bob is the head of the farm. He sees the needs of his 9,500-head dairy and also the needs of his family. His son, Adrian, has become involved and formed a partnership on their farm. They have developed a strong father-son relationship that continues the success of their farm.
Adrian Diepersloot showing us around his farm
The photo on the left is of Bob when he invited us into his home to enjoy breakfast! He was telling us about the chocolate milk his friend's dairy produced. The image on the right is of Adrian when he was giving us a tour around the dairy farm. You could clearly see the passion each of the them had as they showed us around the farm. They prove that collaboration is the key to a working family.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Word of the Day: Cluster

This past week was very exciting! Because it was so exciting, I will be splitting up my adventures into more than one post. I had the privilege to travel with the AFA Student Advisory Team to Fresno, Calif. for our June meeting and industry visits from June 8-11. Not only was this my first time in California, but it was our team's first traveling meeting to learn about different methods of agricultural production and to mingle with supporters of our organization.

The AFA Student Advisory Team in a pistachio field
Each of us enjoyed learning more about California's diverse agriculture practices, like pistachios!
I am pictured second in from the left.

Every evening after our meetings, we share our "word of the day" to compile our thoughts and share it with the group. Unfortunately, we were unable to express our last word of the day on Tuesday because some of the team had to catch early flights across the country. Therefore, this is the perfect opportunity to share my word of the day and introduce a string of different posts about my California experiences.

My word of the day is cluster.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Eat more ice cream!

June is National Dairy MonthSimple concept, right? Who doesn't like a cool, refreshing cone or bowl of ice cream in the warming spring and summer months? If you are lactose intolerant, I extend my deepest sympathy. Especially because June is National Dairy Month! Seeing that I am in Wisconsin, the state of cheeseheads and dairy enthusiasts, I only find it fitting to partake in the bountiful festivities throughout this month.

Starting off, Becca, my roommate, fellow Bader Rutter intern and dairy enthusiast from Pennsylvania, persuaded me to go with her after work one day to Lee's Dairy Treat. Even though I have been on a health kick and avoiding sweets at all costs, this food option was one I could not turn down and it didn't take much prodding to get me to join her.

This family-owned ice cream shop is celebrating its 43rd year and takes claim as the best soft serve shop in Milwaukee. My taste buds were not deceived by this claim.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

I'm a baker not a ballerina

Outside of my 40 hour work week, I wanted to find some other ways to stay active and healthy! Two of these hobbies that go hand-in-hand are cooking and exercising. On Friday night, I took my Betty Crocker skills to the kitchen by baking some blueberry banana muffins! You may think that is an odd combination, but after 20 minutes in the oven, they proved heavenly to the taste buds.

Blueberry Banana Muffins

I discovered this Pinterest recipe (of course) from In Vogue at Home and will definitely be using it in the future! ***FYI, images above were taken by me. This was the first morsel of Milwaukee apartment cooking, and now I need to find some new recipes to test out as well.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Culture is everything

Week two is in the books! Work is slowly but surely beginning to pick up as we engage in summer planning and project implementation. One thing I've come to learn is that culture is of great importance in Milwaukee.

The people, the sights, the food and beverages and the environment are all factors in the vibrant culture of this city. Today, I had a chance to indulge in one prominent part of Milwaukee culture: a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game.

Milwaukee Brewers game
Although this was not my first baseball game, it was my first Major League Baseball event. And geez, I sure have been missing out!

Growing up in Ohio, I'm surrounded by MLB teams. However, I never took the time to follow teams or attend a game. Coming to Milwaukee for the summer, I made it a goal to visit Miller Park at least once, since it was a short 10 minute drive away. ***Note: I still have not chosen my 'team', so feel free to give me your tidbits and suggestions on who to cheer for.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Don't take your foot off the gas pedal

I have a need for speed. Not only do I have an atypical enjoyment of NASCAR, but I also enjoy a fast-paced, agile environment. Completing my first week at Bader Rutter, I have found my desire to stay busy and be involved is in its practice laps.

I have a need for speedAs a high type-A personality, I am very eager to get involved and stay busy through the duration of each day. However, as I begin to analyze the "race" ahead, the level of activity I seek may not always be available. In the agency, I am just beginning my laps while others on the PR team have completed many. It is difficult for me to join in the middle of their race while I am warming up my tires.

However, even with less work to complete right now, I have learned to not take my foot off the gas pedal. After conversing with Greg Nickerson, Bader Rutter's chief executive officer, I have found insight for the theme of this blog post.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

More than just a name plate

Caroline's name plateDay two, complete! If you have ever started a new job, you know that the first few days are very procedural and introductory. Of course, I completed the standard paperwork and got comfortable at my desk and in the office building. However, these couple of days have been more significant than just receiving a name plate.

One important aspect of joining a new company is connecting with the staff. I have spent nearly half of my time these past two days meeting with many different employees I will be collaborating with during this summer. From meeting with members of my DOW Agrosciences PR team to conversing with lead management staff of Bader Rutter, I am eager to begin a variety of projects related to my passions in communication and agriculture!

No matter what role each of these people hold, they are equally important for the success of Bader Rutter and the company's clientele.

I am excited to see what will happen these next few weeks. Not only am I looking forward to making connections in the office, but also with this outstanding group on a social level. My roommate is also an intern at Bader Rutter and we look forward to exploring Milwaukee together! We are both participating on the company's volleyball and softball teams for agency leagues. It will certainly be a fun experience and with a positive outlook, we both are bound to have an amazing summer.

It is time to push myself so the experience is more meaningful than just a name plate. Will you do the same for your summer opportunities?


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