Sunday, July 31, 2011

Moving Away From Home and the Farm

It seems like I'm constantly realizing that I'm growing up, which is both an exciting and odd feeling. Though I've accepted my first "big-kid" job and am set to move to Madison in a week, it's just begun to sink in more and more and I'm sure it won't completely sink in for a while. Friday was one of those "you feel like an adult when" moments as I got kitchen items as an early 21st birthday present. I was even excited to get them as I like to cook and bake and I definitely needed a new pot and pan set.

Another one of those "you feel like an adult when" moments occurred last weekend as I went home and packed up a lot of my stuff for my move to Madison. None of my family was home  last weekend as they were attending my younger brother's graduation from Basic training for the North Dakota Air Guard, which I would've loved to have been there for. However, I did get to spend time with the boyfriend at the small town (population of 100) festival that weekend.

I've moved before - to and from college and to and from Kansas City - but this time was different. This time it's not a temporary arrangement with a set end date. Leaving my home is one thing, but leaving the farm is another. I miss the farm a lot while I'm away, but I imagine it'll be even harder when I'm 7 hours away in a more permanent location.

Since I'll be working in the dairy industry, I imagine that at least being able to talk about dairy on a daily basis and being involved in the industry will help me feel more connected to the farm even when I'm 7 hours away. Even if I won't be on the farm, I'm glad that I'll still be able to work in and support the industry.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Norwegian Connection

By now, most people have heard of the tragedy that occurred in and near Oslo, Norway (Norge in Norwegian). What happened there is absolutely horrific and I immediately felt for the people there. I wouldn't typically write about a major tragedy, as news outlets do that already, but in this case I have been to the city that was affected.

I visited Oslo for a few days, including during Syttennde Mai, the Norwegian Independence Day, on a study abroad trip. As a Minnesotan, I've certainly been exposed to Norwegian foods such as lefse and Norwegian heritage jokes like Ole and Lena. I'm not Norwegian myself though and was just one of 2 students who didn't have Norwegian heritage out of the 15 student on the trip. While I visited Norway for two weeks, I grew to appreciate the culture and enjoyed the beauty of both the countryside and the towns.

School children walking in the Syttennde Mai parade in Olso.
Our trip to Oslo was cut short by the Iceland volcano Eyjafjallajokull, but I enjoyed the time that I did get to spend in the city. The goal for Oslo was to be there for Syttennde Mai, a great experience that reminded me of the 4th of July and what it means to have a sense of national pride. On Syttennde Mai we even found hot dogs wrapped in the aforementioned lefse at a street vendor.

A year after my visit to Norway, my heart goes out to the Norwegians as they go through this national tragedy.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Big News: Starting a New Chapter

My internship with Wilbur-Ellis ends August 5th and I've been applying and interviewing for full-time positions to start once my internship ends.  There's been many ups and downs, confusion, excitement, and hard decisions along the way, but I'm happy to say that today my job search is over.

I concentrated my job search on the agriculture industry and focused primarily on roles dealing with communications and/or marketing.  My Communication degree is broad and marketing can apply to a wide variety of roles and tasks, and I believe I found a position that I will be very satisfied with.

Starting August 8th, I'll be the North America Market Manager with BouMatic in Madison, Wisconsin.  BouMatic is a global dairy equipment manufacturing company and I'm excited to be able to work in the awesome dairy industry.  I'll be moving to Madison, about 7 hours away from home, which is both scary and exciting at the same time.  I'll also be apartment searching for the first time and doing many other firsts.  It's a big change that I'm very excited about.  

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Revisiting the National 4-H Dairy Conference

I drove into Madison, Wisconsin tonight and am currently at a hotel for my short visit to Madison.  The last time, and only other time, I was in this city was in 2006 for the National 4-H Dairy Conference. As I drove by ABS Global on my way into Madison tonight, I was reminded of that conference and how much it impacted me.

When I attended, I was a junior in high school and had just started dating my boyfriend who also attended the conferenc., We were two of over 20 Minnesota delegates to this large conference held on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.  The Gopher Dairy Club typically sponsors MN delegates.

The National 4-H Dairy Conference (NDC) was truly an amazing opportunity, and continues to be a great experience for high school 4-Hers involved in the dairy industry.  I'd recommend it anyone.  I remember most of my fellow Minnesota delegates and still keep in touch with many of them, and continue to see many active in the dairy industry. 3 (the boyfriend included) were even 4-H State Ambassadors with me, an experience I intend to write about later.
                                   
                                
About half of the MN group at the National 4-H Dairy Conference next to a cow statue on State Street in Madison.  I'm on the far left in the first row.  

Today I'm thankful that NDC exposed me to how diverse the dairy industry is.  Before, I had learned about other types of dairies but hadn't visited any larger than 100 cows.  The conference brought me to large dairies with rotary parlors, dairies that produce their own cheese, organic dairies larger than my family's, custom heifer growers, farms with methane digesters, Hoard's Dairyman (the office and the Guernsey farm), and ABS Global, among others.  

I have always had an interest in agriculture and love cows, but it was during NDC that I became absolutely certain that I wanted to have a career in agriculture.  Attending a large-scale conference like NDC allowed me to get outside the box of my local county and state and really immerse myself in not just dairy, but agriculture as a whole as well.  After all, as diverse as dairy is, the agriculture industry as a whole is even more diverse.  The conference further developed my infinite desire to learn more, see more, and do more in regards to agriculture.