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.
|Photo from mashable.com|
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!
|Photo courtesy of Cambodia Herald|
Tomorrow, I depart for a 10-day study abroad trip to New Zealand. The land of the sheep and hobbits awaits me and 39 other Buckeyes to learn about human and animal interactions. These trip is focused primarily on animal sciences, however, I bring in a unique communications, marketing and policy aspect to the discussions. I can’t wait to explore more about this strong agriculture country, and do some touristy things as well.
Unfortunately, I don’t think our group will make it to see some hobbit houses. But, there is a high chance we will be embracing one of New Zealand’s inventions: bungee jumping!
With all these fun activities to experience and see, why not disconnect for a few short days? I plan to take my DSLR camera with me to capture many many photos and will be journaling along the way. Therefore, the instantaneous notion of Twitter feeds, Facebook posts and Instagram updates can wait.
|Taking photographs at the Cliffs of Mohr last December.|
So, even though you won’t have the constant notifications on your tablets, computers and phones that I am “visiting a sheep farm in Auckland” or “wine tasting at a local winery” immediately when it happens, you can be sure that I will reflect about my experiences after I fully embrace them. In case you are wondering, my parents already know I won’t be in constant contact. Last December, the same thing happened when I went to Ireland on a study abroad. I am lucky they are so understanding of my adventurous side.
And as for adventure, let’s hope nothing happens when we decide to go bungee jumping, as my international insurance doesn’t cover it. But, that’s all part of the thrill, right? Hopefully, I’ll have some footage to show when I return. As I disconnect, I wish you well! E noho ra!
|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.
At the age of 21, I will be the first to admit I have a lot to learn about life. Yes, I grew up on a farm and know more about agriculture than many of my peers. No, I am not an expert by any means. But, you know who is? My parents, grandparents, individuals on agriculture boards, people who have been in the industry for 30+ years and beyond.
My grandparents Mary and Harold Weihl have been active in farming and Farm Bureau on local and state levels for many years. Grandpa invited me to attend the luncheon portion of the annual meeting yesterday. In most instances, I would say “No thanks, grandpa. I need to get some studying done.” Recently, however, I have had a change in perspective. As young whipper snappers, it is easy to forget to appreciate the people who have the largest impact on our lives. One quote I have come to love is,
“As we spend our times growing up, our parents (and grandparents in this case) are growing old.” -Unknown
Therefore, instead of simply hearing second hand the ways my grandpa is contributing to this great grassroots organization, I joined him for lunch. OK, I didn’t really want to stay in my apartment and study anyway. But, you know what? I could not have made a better decision! Sure, I saw some people I already know, but it was the interactions with friends and acquaintances of my grandpa’s that showed me the impact he has had on the industry and organization. Grandpa and grandma are very social people (probably where I got it from) and so it was fun to talk to some people who have worked with them for many years inside and outside of OFBF. In fact, I found out that my grandpa graduated from Capital University before serving in the armed forces. It is true, you can learn something new every day!
Sometimes, leaders aren’t actively in the spotlight. They may be tucked away in the cab of a tractor or in the kitchen of an old farm house. One thing is for sure, there are many leaders leading through food and farming.
The future of agriculture is found in the stories of people like my grandparents, peers and mentors.
Who is someone you know that needs his or her story told? I encourage you to do just that, share their story. If you don’t, will anyone?
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.
|The steers and heifers are fed out to market weight
and then are sold to local families for freezer beef.
|Our nanny goats are fed hay as we get ready for kidding
season in the spring.
|Our cows get fed round bales of hay in the outside lot.
Dad is removing the wrapping to drop the bale into
|The cows are waiting for dad to give them their
The thing about livestock, these animals need us. It isn’t just our job. We are the caretakers for them. In order to make them happy and healthy, we care for them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Farmers, like my family, are thankful for this gift we are given in the agriculture industry to change lives–every day of our lives.
Even though we don’t get “days off”, we are always thankful. I hope today and every day, you thank a farmer.
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.
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.
Senior Spotlight, Alpha Xi Delta Style.
|My little sister Laura and I.|
During our chapter meetings for the sorority, graduating seniors are recognized. Last week, I was the designated senior. My little sister, Laura, read me a letter about our time together. Hearing her share her experiences that I helped contribute to in the sorority made me melt. Sometimes, we need to hear the thoughts from others in our lives to bring it all full circle. Laura helped me remember that all I have done and continue to do for our organization does make a difference. It takes some time for us to see it in many instances.
What About YOUR Time?
***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
2009 – Competing in general livestock evaluation contest
2010 – National FFA Band
2011 – Delegate as a state FFA officer and American Degree recipient
2012 – Exhibitor for the Ohio State CFAES Booth
2013 – Newsroom Intern
I like to think I had the most unique stories – keynote speakers, delegates sessions and more! Not only did I have the stressful, rewarding opportunity to interview University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, but I captured some photographs and share the stories that attendees and other FFA advocates may be interested in. I highly encourage you to look into the internship opportunities if you are of age and experience. It gave me a greater appreciation for all the goes into putting on a successful convention! Here are the stories I wrote during convention:
National FFA Delegates Have a Dynamic Experience
Rick Pitino Commits FFA Members to a Life of Leadership
Speed Painter Dan Dunn Thrills FFA Members at Convention
New Competition Showcases FFA Members’ Talent
9/11 Survivor Joe Torrillo Shares Life Lessons with Members
Case IH FFA Stage Paintings Sell for $1,000 Each
Get Back Up: Josh Sundquist Tells FFA Members to Buck Adversity
FFA Launches Give Blue Program During FFA Jacket’s 80th Anniversary
***NEW Katie Pratt Tells FFA Members to Lead in Agricultural Advocacy
‘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.
- 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?
- Make personal connections in these organizations. I always hear, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” and I couldn’t agree more. Today’s workforce is built through relationships, especially in the agriculture industry. If one of your friends has a parent working in the company you show interest in, reach out to them. Set up an exploratory interview/meeting just to learn more. Once you start sharing your interests and skills with him or her, they could help you land the job you bookmarked. It is much easier to make your way into an organization with a helping hand.
Image from CFAES Facebook page
- Prepare your questions. After your research, you should have some questions you would like answered by your companies. Here are a few I have learned to ask: What has kept you at the company? What growth do you see the organization having in 5 or 10 years? What is the potential for international experiences as an employee?
- Picture yourself in that organization. The biggest difficulty I am facing is the idea that this is a long-term decision. It isn’t just an internship for three months in the summer. It is a minimum of two years dedicated to an organization I want to put my heart and soul into. This is why research, self analysis and questions are important. They help you determine if Company ABC would be the best option for you, after comparing all the characteristics.