Sunday, November 2, 2014

No longer a trainee; soon to be a Nebraska Cornhusker.

Sometimes, I question where time goes. It seems like yesterday when I first received my offer as a Developmental Sales Representative (DSR) with Syngenta. Almost exactly one year ago from today, I accepted to start a new adventure in agricultural sales. My spring semester at Ohio State accelerated just as quickly and June 16th was upon me in an instant.

No longer a trainee, soon to be a Nebraska Cornhusker.From June to now, I have learn many things. One of the most important concepts I grasped has been how to continue learning. I had the opportunity to not just work in Ohio and Indiana, but also travel the country to some of Syngenta's other facilities in North Carolina, Minnesota, and Tennessee. The group of 21 DSRs have been "drinking from a fire hose" these past few months to understand not just the company and processes behind our innovations, but how our retail customers and local growers are implementing them. The biggest obstacle I faced was feeling I wasn't learning enough as quickly as I needed to be.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Anti-Social Society

The past week and a half, I have been traveling a lot. In reality, I have been traveling a lot this past month! No, it isn't really an excuse for why I have not posted a blog recently. And, no, I'm not trying to make my life sound all glorious because I have been driving and flying around the U.S. In reality, although I have been experiencing a lot, I have become anti-social while doing it.

Think about the last time you got in an elevator. You stand impatiently outside the doors with the button illuminated and the shaft creaking to a stop at your floor. You peer up from your phone screen just as the doors slide open to see a few other folks awaiting your entrance in the small square.

You take a few quick steps in, turn your back to the others inside and watch the doors merge toward the middle. Mere seconds after those doors close, your eyes divert back to your phone screen. You might have shared a brief smile and second of eye contact with your fellow elevator riders, but that did not make much difference.

Why not? Did you say "hello" or hold nice conversation with the people around you? Did you give an "elevator speech" (pun intended) about what you do or why you are in the area? Nope. You were looking at your Instagram feed or reading the latest Buzzfeed post. It's a shame.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The error of eavesdropping -- They were talking about food production

Last night in Fort Wayne, I decided that since my cable plan won't allow me to watch the NASCAR race, I would find a local sports bar to enjoy it. Lucky for me, a Buffalo Wild Wings is two miles down the road from my apartment.

As I sit at the bar, enjoying my Octoberfest and boneless wings and watching the first 25 laps of the race, I overhear a conversation happening three stools down from me. OK, I may have been sitting by myself at B Dubs, so naturally, I listen to people talking around me. But, what perked my ears wasn't necessarily a pleasant conversation.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Girl In A Country Song | I'm not THAT girl!

I'm a fan of today's country music. It has a bit more pop, more rock and eclectic tones that make you want to sing along. Male country vocalists have taken the spotlight the past few years with most current hits and trendy songs. I think this is about to change.

Check out the video from Maddie & Tae, Girl In A Country Song.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

8 Things Learned from Living "On The Go" for One Week

In my current role, I am constantly traveling. I am either meeting up with people, attending events, riding along with coworkers or visiting farmers/growers independently. This past week, I primarily visited growers on my own.

I believe one of the best ways I, and many others, learn is by doing. Don't just show me what that means. Teach me; allow me to try it and execute it myself. I retain that information or learn the task much quicker. It has been trying and invigorating, with highs and lows. Nonetheless, it is preparing me for a territory of my own in a few months.
8 things learned from living on the go for one week
Reflecting on this past week, I have pinpointed eight valuable things learned from living "on the go" for one week. 

1. Plan your schedule ahead of time.
Making appointments with farmers can be difficult. This is their busy time of year. I plan my schedule as much as possible to save on wasted drive time and by meeting with people who are in close proximity on the same day or two. My Outlook calendar has become my best friend by keeping me organized with reminders and addresses for appointments.

2. When your schedule changes, be adaptable.
Since people are very busy, things come up. Schedules change, technology issues occur and not everything goes as planned. I have learned to adapt. Sometimes spending an extra hour at a grower's house trying to resolve an issue with their computer builds an even stronger relationship, no matter how frustrated you might feel when things aren't going smoothly.

3. Never solely rely on a GPS.
Moving from Ohio to Indiana, I figured I would be fine navigating this new state. Surprise! I have gotten lost more times than I can count, even with the use of a GPS. Back country roads and rural landmarks can be more beneficial in finding my way than inputing an address into a computer. Always have a backup way to find your location, whether it is a paper map or by calling the grower and asking for directions.

4. Pack snacks and water to go.
I have been attempting a healthier lifestyle by eating less processed and "fast" foods. Unfortunately, that is even more challenging when staying in hotels and not having fresh groceries. Now, I always carry at least 2 bottles of water with me and pack some granola bars, fresh fruit and veggies in a cooler for a few days. You don't always have to get a meal from a restaurant. Stop at a grocery store for a package of hummus and vegetables, fresh fruit or even a pre-made sandwich. The cost of those foods is comparable, if not less, than purchasing a meal from McDonald's or Wendy's.

Monday, August 4, 2014

I'm tired of fighting... I give up.

Forward: This post is hypothetical and meant to provoke thoughts and solutions. Please do share thoughts via the comment section below.

The past few days, I have had a headache. My mom always says I get stressed out too easily and that causes them. Well, this time, I agree.

Image courtesy of Getty Images
You may have heard on the news about the toxic algae levels in Lake Erie that caused Toledo, Ohio to issue a ban on drinking tap water (article by The Weather Channel). This is devastating. Not only did this impact my family, who is only 20 miles from Toledo city limits, but it created struggle for 400,000 city residents.

The water looks disgusting. I'm sure it can't taste any better either. Growing up, my parents always expressed how dirty the lake was and that some other local water sources like the Maumee River weren't much better. I never had to worry because we had a well for water--until a few years ago. We joined "the general population" with city water. Going to college and now living in Fort Wayne, Ind., it never phased me that drinking tap water could be harmful. However, I have found there is something more threatening than the risk of poisoned water.

Friday, August 1, 2014

It's #FairFriday | 7 characteristics taught at county fairs

Urban and rural dwellers alike agree that a fun summer event is a local county fair. The aromas of greasy fries, the echoing voices of announcers across the grounds and the ceaseless smiles seen on fairgoer faces combine for a vibrant environment. Growing up, I lived for those summers. Through 4-H, FFA and Junior Fairboard, I kept busy preparing for that one week of the year. Reflecting on this week of the Wood County Fair, it has been four years since I was prepping animals in the barns, blending milkshakes and riding around in the opening parade. If there is a valuable lesson to be learned, attending and participating in county fairs build character. Here are seven characteristics built at county fairs.

1. Family pride.
I began showing cattle at age 8. To do this, I needed lots of help from my parents and family to ensure not only my safety, but the safety of my calves. Show persons build relationships not just with their supporters before the show ring, but create stronger bonds with our family members. Weihl Farms has always raised Shorthorns and being proud of our culture has developed through exhibiting animals at the fair. Children and young adults who don't raise their own, but purchase livestock from other breeders, feel this same passion and connectedness among family because of the fair. The photo above is my dad and I showing heifers in open class from 2008.

2. Responsibility.
Proper management of animals includes their health. We
don't just wash them, take care of their hair and clip them
to make them look "pretty". It also keeps them healthy.
Taking care of yourself is important. But taking care of another living creature is a responsibility. Feeding, watering, grooming and training animals can seem daunting, but is often rewarding for show persons in 4-H and FFA. Responsibility is a key characteristic you will see in young individuals at county fairs. The students learn the process and often the business and results. Take a look in the FFA projects building. Woodworking projects, crops and produce are also examples of how responsibility plays a role in youth development. Junior Fairboard members also have a large responsibility during fair, ensuring shows run smoothly, exhibitors are taking care of their animals and guests are enjoying the fair.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

I have become first removed. What are you?

This past month, I have had many awesome, hands-on experiences! I never knew that as a sales representative in the agriculture industry, there is so much opportunity to travel, meet growers and learn in the field (literally). The days seem to fly by but there is not much more exciting than the knowledge I am gaining in these fast-paced days. To accompany this learning curve about crop protection and agronomy, a new realization has set in. I have become first removed.

You might think, what is going on with her family? Is everything OK? Other than our county fair beginning Monday and I will miss my sister show her goats and run for fair queen, a newborn calf being born a few days ago that I couldn't assist with its first nursing of first colostrum or my grandmother attempting to sell her house, everything is great! The only disappointment is, I'm not there.

Monday, June 16, 2014

How does your father feel loved?

Round Baling HayYesterday was Father's Day. I witnessed many friends posting online about how great their fathers are and how they have been influenced by them and sharing iconic photographs of memories with their dads. That was very thoughtful to share. I did not participate.

Instead, I was out in the hay fields, round baling alfalfa with my dad. He does not have social media, nor does he follow content online except for agriculture news and emails. In order to make him feel loved on this holiday, I shared my time and assistance. Working in the fields together brought more joy to him than he can express with words (or chooses to, at times).

With the gap in today's generations, we often forget the value people in the Baby Boomer years, like my dad, appreciate more than just an Instagram photo or Facebook collage. It is the time we cherish together, whether in work or play, as a family.

Don't get me wrong, social media is great! However, it sometimes takes away from the actual time we spend and the moments we experience in our daily lives. As I leave today for two weeks training in my first big-girl job, I realized time moves fast.

I challenge you the next few days, weeks, months and years to not just take selfies at new places, SnapChat your life story and tweet every waking moment of an event. Make the people in your life feel loved by being present in their lives. Spend time with your parents and grandparents. Write a letter or note to a distant relative. Play a game in your yard with your pets or siblings. Use your time and energy to your advantage and you can be certain the people around you feel loved.

P.S. I do have the best dad ever. ;)

Friday, June 13, 2014

How can we "meat the myths"?

Meat MythsToday is the information age. For the agriculture industry, this is part of a 'moo'vement. Consumers want to know how their food is grown, what is added or used in the process from pasture to plate and what makes the food healthy or produced 'safely' in their eyes.

Along with this factual information, we commonly interact with more 'entertaining' information on the Internet. Buzzfeed is a website for this entertainment purpose. Have you taken a quiz during your lunch break to see "which state you should live in" or "which Ryan Gosling movie character should you marry?" I'll admit, I have! It's fun and gives you a brief reprieve from another task you may have been doing. The past few days, some of my Facebook friends were sharing a different type of post from Buzzfeed instead of the usual quiz.

At the Community on Buzzfeed page, the American Meat Institute shared "15 Common Meat Myths That Need to Be Crushed For Good." I highly encourage you to read through them. Growing up in ag myself and with livestock no less, there were a few on the list I was not familiar with. However, it was once I scrolled down to the comments section of the page that my interest peaked.

There were some readers who were pleased with the information shared. Many were from a farming background, but some were not. There were also critics who felt American Meat Institute was just 'tooting their own horns of the corporate world' and 'feeding consumers false information'. Yes, it explicitly says that the post was created by the user and not the Buzzfeed editors. However, why are readers taking this stance as inaccuracy?
Newborn Shorthorn cow and calf
Shorthorn cow and newborn calf on Weihl Farms.

How can we bridge that gap of concern and sometimes inaccurate thoughts? We can't sway the 20 percent of society who have already focused against the industry. But the 60 percent in the middle group who remain unsure and can be influenced are who needs our help as the remaining 20 percent for agriculture. We need to join the movement. Society needs not just sources like AMI sharing info, but farmers and growers in local communities to "meat these myths" and share them with the public. Trust is built quickly through personal relationships. Therefore, we need to build trust at farmers markets, grocery stores and on our farms and ranches to overcome the blurred lines of the food industry and mass media.

Just yesterday, I helped birth a calf in the pasture. That heifer will add to the food chain either by being raised for a beef heifer or to be kept for breeding and reproduce herself. Until she reaches that age of maturity at around 6 months, it is up to our family to help her and the cow adjust and grow to be a healthy heifer (young female bovine). It is humbling to be on the farm to witness this process and I understand that not everyone can have this opportunity. But, that makes it my responsibility and that of other agriculturalists to share it for those who can't witness firsthand.

How will you join in this 'moo'vement for agriculture?
What ways are you already participating?

Monday, May 26, 2014

God Bless America and pray for our future.

Caroline Weihl FlagI've been gone from blogging for a while and am going to get back into it! After graduation, it has been a busy and relaxing time at home on the farm. Even though today is a holiday for many, it is a day for remembrance and honor for me and others. Memorial Day is not only important for many military men and women in our country, but also for families and friends supportive of the progress the U.S. has seen because of the Armed Forces. Where would we be without them?

I have had many loved ones involved with the military, including cousins, grand parents, and close friends. Even if they served or are serving in a different war or time period, the unity found among these patriots is undeniable. Because of bravery and dedication, we, as U.S. citizens, can continue to say, "God Bless America". Unfortunately, I think we also need to pray for the future of our veterans.

As the media has portrayed, there have been many difficulties for aging veterans with our Department of Veteran Affairs. Heart-wrenching stories of our country's heroes left untreated in hospitals, receiving issues with financial assistance and even deaths going unnoticed by our government system. This is careless. Not only is the VA [becoming] unsupportive, but I worry that as the older generations of veterans pass, what will happen to the patriotism of this country?

American Legions are declining in membership. The majority of their supporters are of the aging veterans and new members are few and far between of the younger generation. This volunteer organization is dependent on its local community and outreach and that does not seem to be happening as much to recent veterans. As I think back on my youth, days like Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Independence Day broadcast the Legions and what these members did and continue to do for our country. Whether it was during a parade or a special service, veterans were there.

Will this continue? What is the future of our upcoming veterans? Will they be the community supporters serving chicken on Mother's Day and funeral services for passing soldiers? Or will they be enclosed in the comfort of their own homes, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders and afraid to share their stories and service to the community and country?

We can make sure our current veterans and upcoming veterans feel appreciated and interested in continuing the legacy that has been left. Talk with a local American Legion and ask what things they are doing to recruit and gain new, younger members? Reach out to family or friends who are recent veterans and see what they are interested in doing to continue the legacy of patriotism and remembrance for our country.

Today is the day to show off your Memorial Day poppy and pray for our future. God Bless America and thank you to our troops, past and present.
Photo received here

Monday, April 28, 2014

Make it good, make it last

Last CFAES banquet, just being goofy!
The past month has been a lot of "lasts". As I near graduation on May 4th, I have had my last days of class, my last CFAES Banquet, last exams and last times spent with friends, sorority sisters and role models on campus at The Ohio State University.

Even though I am eagerly celebrating these lasts, I am sure a few months into my full-time job I will be missing many things. This won't be because I want to go back and do my undergraduate career again. It will be based on the fact that I was able to get the most out of my experience and make it a good one. Often in life, we don't get a second chance. We can't get practice for the big game in all aspects of life. Instead, it is game day almost every day.

One of the hardest lasts I had was with the passing of my grandfather about three weeks ago. He had been ill for a while and I know now that he is in a better place. However, with him gone, it has made me realize how precious our time is to share with people and to not let our moments be mediocre. He has been one of my closest relatives and helped me grow as a young woman, carpenter and fisher. However, I did not get as much time with him as I would have liked. Now, there are more people in my life who may not be passing away, but are moving on to a new stage of life.

Me, grandpa and my sister on my birthday a while back.
With just a week until graduation, I am doing my best to make it good and make it last. It's time to make the moments with impactful people in my life before we move on to different parts of our lives.

In reality, I may never see some of these people again. Here are a few questions I want you to ponder as you experience moments in life, whether they are your "last" or not.

  • Did you have a smile on your face?
  • Did you make someone else smile?
  • If not, why not?
  • Will these life experiences be something you will remember years later?
  • How can you make this the opportunity of a lifetime?
  • Did you make it good and make it last?

I hope these questions provoke thoughts about your experiences. Live your moments and it will show.

Spending time at a crawl for cancer
with great sorority sisters.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Was it all worth five minutes?

A few weeks ago, I drove 1.5 hours to Piqua, Ohio to attend the Ohio Farm Forum and for a 5-minute interaction with Speaker of the House John Boehner. Then, I drove home another 1.5 hours. My mom asked me, "Was all that driving worth just 5 minutes?" My immediate response was "of course".

Speaker John Boehner

Next week, I am going to Washington, D.C. for National Agriculture Day. Traveling with 99 other young agriculturalists, we will meet on Capitol Hill to discuss ag policy and meet with our prospective legislatures. Those meetings will last anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes. However, they are all worth it. Why? Because any time talking to policy leaders about agriculture is valuable. I was only able to meet with Speaker Boehner because I reached out in advance and was willing to make the drive for a few moments, since he is unavailable this next week when I will be in DC. My interaction may not have seemed like much, but our conversation about TPP and food labeling could provoke thoughts in his future government decisions.

Speaker John Boehner

What is worth the distance for you? Is it working that "dirty job" another month to see a pay raise? How about saving a few extra dollars to make your dream trip to Europe for a week? Whatever it is, as long as it is valuable to you and your passions, the endeavor is all that matters.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Prevention of early burnouts

Senior Year is a Fast Race

As many of you may know, I love NASCAR. At the Daytona 500 on Feb. 23rd, Dale Earnhardt Jr., my favorite driver, won the race! It was an exciting moment for him and his fans. After a few stagnant years without any race wins, that Sunday's race was enthralling. The career of a NASCAR driver can have its ups and downs. Through the process, you work and work to get to the end -- where you can hopefully celebrate with some burnouts.

It's a NASCAR tradition to do burnouts after a successful race. But, you need to make sure they are done at the precise moment. In life, it can be the same way. I have realized I may be celebrating my burnouts too early.

The College Race

After 12 years of pre-college education, four years of college may seem like forever to make the finish line. However, the laps go by a lot faster when you get involved on campus, with jobs and internships, and through friendships that help time accelerate to top speeds. I can attest to getting super involved my first three years of college. From leadership positions and executive boards to planning committees and national conferences, I have always been full speed ahead. 

It is easy to move forward at a rapid pace when you discover what you are passionate about. Agriculture, public relations, policy and outreach are things I love and have become engaged with. Just like a race car driver, you learn through the tough turns, the passing cars and the wrecks ahead what you need to do to adjust your strategy. However, there can be some difficulty getting off the goal-centric path.

Early Burnout

As a senior halfway through my final semester, I have reached an early burnout. "Senioritis" is an excuse I toss around frequently. Why? Because in my head, I have "crossed the finish line". I have a great starting job lined up, I have 13 credit hours remaining, and a care-free attitude with fewer outside commitments. This past week, I realized that this early burnout is not a good thing. I am disengaged with some student organizations I was once in leadership roles, I don't follow-up with friends as often, and I feel aloof on campus.

I have realized there is a legacy I want to leave behind and I am not modeling it. I need to apologize. 

I am sorry to my sorority sisters who I do not see or support nearly enough. I am sorry to my ag friends I interact with here and there, but do not converse with on a deeper level. I am sorry to the people I may have disappointed or have disagreements with. If you are willing, I am up for mending the broken relationships that have evolved the past months or years. 

Bible verse Ephesians 4:32 says, "And be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." I ask that my dear friends forgive me for my mistakes and not do the same. 

I have gone to pit row for refuel and fresh tires. Spring break is next week and marks the halfway point of the semester. I hope you will join me in a fresh perspective and slower lap pace. Let's save our burnouts until the waving of the checkered flag in May.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Workout Wednesday - Take it to the Bench

Life is busy. For some, you may barely have time to eat lunch or make a quick call to an old friend. As we age, it can be even more difficult to balance our time to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This past summer, I found that out when working 40-hour work weeks at my internship. Not only are you tired after a long day at work, but the motivation to do anything but sit on the couch and either read a book or watch TV is daunting. But, as you activity level declines, so does your physical health.

This school year, I have made it a goal to become more active in the gym and make my physical health a priority. I have always had a high metabolism -- I took it for granted. Now, it has become clear to me that eating healthy and being physically fit is a necessary balance to stay successful in the working world.

I'm No Runner

From doing track in middle school and the beginning of high school, I knew running wasn't my thing. I was never the fastest nor did it ever "click" with something I truly enjoyed. However, I knew it was good for me. To this day, I still hate cardio. I get bored, and it does not excite me. Lucky for me, I found something better.

Yoga session in action.
Ohio State Rec Sports offers many facilities and free workout classes for its students. I have taken advantage of some of these to add diversity to my exercise schedule and push me harder. Yoga is one of my favorite exercises to enhance flexibility, toning and relaxation. There are others like suspension training and strength building classes I have attended that are really fun, yet challenging as well! If you are ever unmotivated to workout, going to a class with a group is definitely a momentum boost in my experience. Even if you are struggling, odds are, you aren't the only one pushed to your limits!

But, just attending these classes can be tedious. I recently found a new workout method that I am running with to build my physical health.

Why I Powerlift

At the start of the semester, I signed up for a free workout group called Barbelles. Unknowably, I fell in love with powerlifting for women. We have weekly "lectures" to discuss techniques and powerlifting for women and what are some of the differences between cardio and strength training. Then, we practice them at a weekly training. I had been doing some weightlifting on the side since the start of college. This course has re-inspired me to try something new and take one hour of my day to become strong(her)

bench press
Practice technique first.
bench press right
Then, add more weight to be stronger.

On Tuesday, I discovered I had been bench pressing with incorrect, possibly danger technique for YEARS. Now, I need to retrain my body to adjust and this will not only help me become stronger, but open possibilities for a new hobby: powerlifting. This is my new choice for health and fitness. Even though my schedule can be hectic, I make sure to schedule a workout in as a priority, because my life is worth it. 

Fitness For You

One hour day of exercise is all you need. Powerlifting is that one hour for me. What is best for you? Swimming? Running? Cycling? A combination of them all? Either way, being busy isn't a good excuse in my book. Plan it into your schedule and make it happen. 

I am attending the Arnold Sports Festival for the first time this weekend. I hope to learn something new and continue to add balance to my life. How do you balance a healthy lifestyle? Do you like to lift as well? Let me know and I'd love to share more thoughts. Hope to see you at the gym!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Why Should You Be Linked In? The Deeper Meaning Behind 500+ Connections.

LinkedIn Profile
I can't believe I made it!
Three years ago, I created my LinkedIn account. It was a timid first step into the professional world and a door to the next upcoming years as a student at The Ohio State University. Just yesterday, I hit a milestone I had been yearning since "completing" my first profile on this social media site (I don' think a LinkedIn profile is ever absolutely complete). I can finally click on my Profile and see 500+ connections.

When I first thought about the typical person with 500+ connections, he or she is usually a top executive for a private business, CEO of not-for-profit organizations or a certified speaking professionals who gets paid to travel the globe and share inspiration messages. What am I? None of those. However, I think I have gained a greater understanding how those people gain all of those connections and what similarities we share.

Below are some things I have learned about LinkedIn the past few years that have helped me create a strong profile and actively use my account to build a professional network.

Common Interests

Alpha Xi Delta recruitment
My sorority sister Rachel and I during
formal recruitment. She is a business major
and also has a LinkedIn profile. As you can
guess, we are connected.
One positive of social media is the ability to see common interests (and in LinkedIn's case, connections) with people in your community and industry. In my LinkedIn Summary, I share some of my interests and passions and what I can and am willing to offer others. It is not just what I am seeking, but what I can do for you too. There is also an Interests section for Additional Info that I share some searchable interests for LinkedIn users.

By searching people with common interests, you can make connections. After finishing our sorority recruitment last weekend, that is a tactic my sisters and I used when talking with potential new members. We found things in common to discuss, and the conversation built from there. The best conversations are had with people who find a commonality. On LinkedIn, you can embrace that connection by sharing content and learning from each other.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Can you invent something like the Tree T-Pee? Only if you have a heart like Johnny.

Tree T-Pee
My mom likes to send me emails of things I should have seen in the news or forwards that will give me a good laugh. One email she sent me today was more impactful than that. It was an article written by Farm and Dairy about the Tree T-Pee.

If you have ever watched ABC's Shark Tank, you can see entrepreneurs bring their start up businesses to these business guru's who may choose to invest in the products or services pitched to them.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Exploring the Wildlife in New Zealand. Are they really wild?

As you may have seen in my previous posts, many of the stops we made in New Zealand were agriculturally based. I certainly did mind this, having a livestock interest. But those were not the only kinds of places we went to study human and animal interactions.

In the states, I know I love to visit the zoo. I grew up with the Toledo Zoo only 25 minutes away and have visited the Columbus Zoo while living in Columbus and attending Ohio State. I have always been interested in exotic animals and for quite some time, wanted to pursue a zoology degree. So, it is always a pleasure to see these wild animals when I can.

My group visited the Orana Wildlife Park in New Zealand. We learned about some of their native species like the Kiwi and Tuatara. We also saw some of the animals they have from around the globe.

Monday, January 6, 2014

You're Killing Me... Humanely?

Humans do not like to talk about death. No one looks at it gracefully, even though everyone and everything experiences it. In the animal industry, it is also looked down upon. I'm not just referring to euthanasia for overpopulated animal shelters putting to sleep puppies and kittens. I'm talking about harvesting livestock for food consumption.

Alliance GroupI had never actually been into a processing facility until traveling to New Zealand. This was a completely new experience that not only enlightened me on some concepts I didn't understand before, but what the Kiwi culture values in processing meat. 

We went to the Alliance Group Meat Processing Pukeuri Plant. Because of risk that the public might misconceive what they see, we were unable to take any photos at the facilities. It isn't that they are trying to hide anything, but they want to maintain the integrity of their business.

This was the largest plant in the south island, processing 10,800 sheep, 560 slaughter cattle and between 500-2,800 veal calves per day. This is an expansive business and I determined their two top priorities: safety of their workers and animal welfare. (Reader, beware of descriptive content ahead.)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Oh Deer! A New Zealand Niche Market.

The U.S. is overpopulated with deer. These wild animals have a tendency of running out into the middle of a country road or being hunted by sportsmen and sportswomen in the fall and winter seasons. In New Zealand, there is a different market for the lean mammals.

Deer Genetics NZ
Don answers questions about raising his trophy deer.
The OSU crew stopped at Deer Genetics NZ to learn about his business in raising red deer for trophy stags and velvet production. Don, owner of this profitable business, shared some secrets and facts to his success in raising the deer.