Monday, March 31, 2014

Going for a run

I ran outside for the first time ever today. That is, just running and not running for tennis or ultimate frisbee or the like. I've never been a runner - always hated it, thought I wasn't good at it, was almost a bit scared of it. Asthma has always hindered me a bit, but I've decided that can't hold me back anymore and have researched ways to make running easier with asthma. I may never be a marathoner, but I want to prove to myself that I can, in fact, run.

So today it was glorious outside. It got into the 50s and was amazingly sunny. The warmest it's been in a long time and the snow is almost entirely gone. I had to get outside and I decided I'd put my treadmill interval runs into practice. The Brown Deer trail connects to the Ozaukee Trail fairly close to my place, and for a couple of miles I did walk/run intervals. I was wore out by the time I got to my turn-around point and walked back (without a coat!), but when it did run there were glorious moments of the wind just blowing past and hitting the pavement. We'll see how it goes, but I'd like to work towards to being able to intervals both there and back at least.

I've been doing BodyPump primarily, with some Zumba and BodyFlow thrown in, at the local Y for the past few months and have loved it. I always have a renewed sense of confidence after each workout. Today though, it was just so nice to be outside. It's been a really, really long winter.

On the way back from my walk/run, I stopped by the Pick N Save, my least favorite but closest grocer, and found the coolest and oddest thing.

Lamb shaped butter exists. Apparently it's an Easter thing? It's even made by the Wagner family. I had to text my mom with this and now I'm tempted to bring it home for Easter.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Frequent Flier Miles

I love my (now not quite so) new job - it's fascinating, I learn a lot every day and I'm doing what I love. It's also a pretty consuming job at times and I travel about a week a month, more or less. June just happened to be a "more" month, being gone for two weeks. With all the travel that I've been adjusting to, I'm racking up quite the frequent flier miles, but I've also been severely neglecting my blog. Here's a (relatively) short list on some of things I've been up to since my last post forever ago:

  • Attended World Dairy Expo last October. This was the first trade show I helped organize and run.
  • Went home for the holidays.
  • Traveled to a global product meeting for the brand I manage marketing for in Vienna, Austria right after Thanksgiving. Visited a couple dairies in the Czech Republic.
  • Attended the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) convention in Tampa in February. The first trade show I organized and ran myself and my first NCBA. 
  • Attended my first poultry trade show.
  • Attended the WI Ag Women's Summit and visited friends back in Madison.
  • Went home for Easter.
  • Traveled to Toulouse, France for training at our global division HQ in May. Side trip to Paris for a few days.
  • Attended World Pork Expo.
  • Went to a friend's wedding in Vermont and then drove to Montreal for training at our parent company HQ.
With all the travel, I've been trying to get settled into Milwaukee since moving here last August. It hasn't been as easy as it was in Madison, but it's getting there. The bf (who really needs a name on here) has been living in Minneapolis attending grad school and we've been doing the long-distance thing yet again. 

I'll write more about some of my trips soon.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A New City: Milwaukee

Like I said earlier, August was a crazy month full of changes and adventures. One of the biggest changes was my move to Milwaukee. Last year at this time, I made the move to Madison. This year feels very similar: starting a new job, moving to a brand new city, knowing almost nobody in said new city, all of those tough but sometimes exciting transitions. This year is a bit different though in that I am no longer fresh out of college and I feel more prepared for this adventure that is trying to meet new people in an unfamiliar city. The city of Milwaukee itself has a very different feel from Madison, though this time I live in a suburb rather than in the city itself, which I prefer as MKE has a much more urban feel and I just need to see some corn fields sometimes.
Watching a Brewers game in Miller Park. It was my 3rd MLB  game and stadium.

One of my first introduction to Milwaukee was courtesy of my new job in marketing with an animal nutrition company. The ad agency we work with happened to have free tickets to a Brewers game and I figured "why not?". The new job has been just great and I love learning everything about it, from advertising in magazines such as Watt Poultry and market research to different bacteria strains that are efficient forage fermenters such as L. buchneri. In absolutely awesome news that I really must share, another division of my new employer makes the brewer's yeast for the White House Beer

The High Kings perform at Milwaukee Irish Fest

Luckily, I did know two people in Milwaukee before I moved here, a couple who I met in Madison and had moved to the MKE area. Mike and I got to go to the Milwaukee Irish Fest with them and I got to hear the band that really sparked my interest in Irish folk and pub rock music, The High Kings. The festival was especially interesting having just attended a family reunion in Iowa for the Irish side of the family and learning more about that heritage.

My new kitten, Kiara. She's very sweet when she's not completely bouncing off the walls.
I've always been a cat person and have said my favorite animals are cats, cows and rabbits. I can't pick. It's too hard. It started with barn cats of course, all of whom had names and my brothers and I picked "our cats" from each litter. We got a house cat when my cat Callie, a calico barn cat, got injured and I was allowed to bring her in the house to heal. I was 9 or 10 at the time and Callie stayed in the house until she died many years later. My parents currently have a house cat that I love, but I've been wanting my own cat since I graduated from college. With this new city comes a new cat and I got a calico kitten from a Twitter friend. She is highly entertaining, sometimes frustrating like any kitten, sweet and a lot of fun. My rabbit is not quite sure that she's a fan yet though.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Attending the AgChat Conference: An #Agnerd's Paradise

Last week I had the honor of attending the AgChat Foundation Agvocacy 2.0 Conference in Kansas City, MO. I started participating in the #agchat community, a weekly Twitter chat for those involved in or interested in agriculture, over 1 1/2 years ago and this conference gave me the opportunity to finally meet many of the people who I have talked to frequently through this community. I had wanted to attend the conference last year so you can imagine how excited I was to go this year.

The blue dots represent locations that conference participants are from
The first event was a tweep-up for both AgChat conference and NAMA (National Agri-Marketing Association) Bootcamp, which were both being held in Kansas City at similar times. According to Kelly Rivard, who organized it, we had over 100 people total attend. Several people at the tweet-up asked me if I knew anyone else there and my response was "Someone from my high school is coming and I've met a few others once or twice but that's it." The few I had met before were from the Midwest and this conference gave me the opportunity to meet people from all over, as well as others close to home. That first night I met Brandi Buzzard, who did a blog giveaway for Shyanne boots that I won. Brooke Clay ended up wearing those same Shyanne boots that I won the next week, as did I. 

My brand new Shyanne Daisy Mae boots. They need to be broken in yet, but I love them!
Brooke Clay and I both wearing our Shyanne Daisy Mae boots to see a Craig
Morgan concert  in the Power  & Light District of Kansas City.
I got so much from the conference that it's hard to put into one post. I keep thinking back on it and how much I got from it. There was meeting all these awesome people who are so incredibly passionate about agriculture, feeling excited about the future of agriculture, learning new social media tools, enjoying nights out on the town with new friends and gaining new perspectives by learning from each other.

The swap meet, while not an official event, was a great way to learn about other areas of agriculture as people traded items that are representative of agriculture in their home state. I brought New Glarus Spotted Cow and Capital Brewery Supper Club beer from Wisconsin, as I've now lived in cheeseland for over a year. I got some unique items from various states and learned some interesting things, such as how growing popcorn differs from growing your typical field corn. Before the swap meet, our dinner table had a great discussion about the differences between organic and conventional dairy. I sat next to a calf raiser on a conventional dairy who asked the Zwebers and I questions about our organic dairies. There's so much to learn from others in agriculture as it's such an incredibly diverse industry.

The Peterson Brothers performed their "I'm Farming and I Grow It" first  thing in the morning
Of all of the things that I learned at the AgChat conference, what has stuck out most to me is the people and the power of connections. The people at the conference were all simply great people. I got to catch up with someone who went to the same high school, celebrate the birthday of someone who's blog I've read for a while, watch new friends ride a mechanical bull and overall have meaningful but exciting conversations about agriculture. I enjoyed meeting with everyone and it really drilled home the importance of making connections with those not directly involved with agriculture and this is further emphasized every time I talk about my background with someone I meet in Milwaukee.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Crazy Month of August

August has always been a crazy month for me. When I was in 4-H, it was the rush to get all of my projects finished, make sure my cattle wouldn't drag me through the show ring, showing at the county fair and then the state fair immediately after, ending in going back to school whether it was college or high school. Even once I was out of 4-H, there were internships to transition from and back into school. Last year I ended an internship, moved to Madison and started a new job.

This August was no exception:

  • I started a new job at Lallemand Animal Nutrition working with their Sil-All brand of silage inoculants (essentially bacteria designed to aid in the fermentation process of forages to create a better silage for feeding catle)
  • Took a trip back to Minnesota for a wedding, visiting the bf's family's dairy and beef farm and my family's farm along the way
  • Moved to Milwaukee and had a great going away party with my Madison friends
  • Attended the #AgChat Foundation Agvocacy 2.0 Conference in Kansas City, MO. Amazing. 
Still to come in August:
  • A brief work trip
  • Heading back to Minnesota for the Minnesota State Fair aka The Great Minnesota Get Together or The Happiest Place on Earth. Though, I'll actually be at the fair in September. Close enough.
My apartment is still a bit disheveled from moving, with boxes that need to put away and pictures that need to be hung up. One of my top priorities with my move is getting a new library card. I'm getting more settled into my new job and of course there's still lots to learn. I've loved being so busy but it will be nice when things calm down a bit so I can actually decorate my apartment.

Posts of a few of the above activities from this crazy month coming shortly!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Moving Forward

The past couple weeks have full of activity in finding employment land. Last week I drove an hour to an interview, flew to Phoenix for an interview at a trade show and flew to Ohio for another interview. The last trip was fraught with flight delays and I was hardly home all week, but it ended up being worth it.

In early August I'll be starting a position in marketing with Lallemand Animal Nutrition. I'll be working primarily with the silage inoculant part of the business and will have a variety of roles ranging from developing product literature to coordinating trade shows. The interview process was rather long and extensive, which made me even more confident in the position and company. It just seems like a good fit and I'm excited to get to work and stay in the agriculture industry.

The position means I will be moving to Milwaukee, WI which is both exciting and a bit sad. I've been in Madison for almost a year now, have an absolutely fantastic group of friends and enjoy the Madison area. Milwaukee isn't too far from Madison though so I will still be able to come back to Madison to visit. I've started the process of finding an apartment in Milwaukee and I've decided that I will be getting a cat in the new apartment. I currently have a rabbit in my apartment and I've been wanting a cat for a while. To make things more interesting, the bf is starting graduate school at the University of Minnesota in August. We've done long distance before, but it's never ideal.

Here's to hoping this next position is a great fit, as it seems to be, and the move to Milwaukee goes well. It's definitely exciting!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Creating Dairyland

I have always loved to read and I finally got my Madison Library card, which made me really excited. One of the first books I got was "Creating Dairyland" by Ed Janus, a Madison man who was a dairy farmer for a couple years and writes a historical account of how Wisconsin became America's Dairyland. This was fascinating to me as someone not from Wisconsin, but from a dairy in Minnesota. It's really an interesting read for anyone, but especially for anyone in the dairy industry from Wisconsin or otherwise.

My dad was raised on a dairy farm as well and he has told me a lot about the history of our farm, but there was many parts of the book that I hadn't thought of. For instance, my family's farm has 3 silos that we use to store our silage and hayledge in for feeding after harvest. Creating Dairyland explained how the silo was a huge advancement in agriculture as it allowed dairying to be profitable as farmers could store feed for cows year-round so they could milk year-round. It makes sense, but I simply had never thought of it before. Silos had just always been on the farm for me. I know my dad didn't always milk with a pipeline and milking machine, but he had never discussed the history of silos before.

It was also interesting to learn more about the importance of Hoard's Dairyman to the dairy industry. Hoard's is one of my favorite magazines and I have visited their office and dairy farm. It's been around for so long that  we can really learn a lot about the history of the industry by reading their historical archives.

Creating Dairyland tells many stories of current and past dairy farmers, and some cheese maker stories, and their histories. Its full of rich detail of farm life and many parts of the book rang true for me. I was desperately missing the farm almost the entire time I was reading the book. One of the parts that struck me as this quote about dairy farmers and cows: "Cows require kindness, routine and predictability, and long-term investments for their well-being and our profit. Dairy farmers must be dedicated to caring well for other living beings and for the resources that feed them." - Creating Dairyland, p. 3

The historical aspects of learning how dairy farming came about in Wisconsin and how Wisconsin became the dairyland was fascinating, but the farmer stories really hit me. A wide range of farmers were portrayed from a pasturing homestead farm to the Crave Brothers Farm whose place I got the opportunity to visit in high school to a college student developing a niche on the genetics side while her farming focuses on milk in a tie-stall. There was even a story of an Organic Valley farmer who milks his cows seasonally to allow them to east only grass.

The Crave brothers history stuck with me. The oldest brother talked about how his dad quit milking cows. His dad milked 35-40 cows and was a one-man show and had to be there constantly and deal with huge milk price fluctuations, which was a frustrating way to farm. The story of his dad reminded me so much of my own father - milking 35-40 cows and a one-man show. The Crave brothers now run a 1,000 cow dairy with 4 brother managing the farm that makes its own cheese and has two anaerobic manure digesters.

Creating Dairyland's stories are truly a testament to the dynamic dairy industry and the passion that lies within dairy farmers. It's a testament to the fact that a love for cows is what drives dairy men and a testament to the perservance of today's dairy farmers. It's further proof to me that I love the dairy industry.