Not all those who wander are lost.
- J.R. Tolkien
My story begins in the early 2000s on a dusty train ride in rural Victoria, Australia. I had recently graduated from high school, and in lieu of attending college, signed up for a yearlong work abroad program through the National FFA Organization. As the foreign countryside rolled past, I began to second-guess my desire to travel as far as earthly possible from my hometown in south-central Wisconsin.
In the early 2000s, I lived and worked on a dairy farm in Australia for eight months, followed by a six-month stay in Switzerland. During this time, I was exposed to two aspects of agriculture that I would eventually incorporate into my own dairy farm: rotational grazing, and education through immersion.
In the mid-2000s, I put farming on hold to study Business Management at the University of Wisconsin–Platteville, and returned to Australia to study a semester of Marine Ecology on the Great Barrier Reef, as well as Tourism and Hospitality at La Trobe University, Bundoora campus. This international experience absolutely endowed me with a sense of gratitude for the natural environment, and served as a reminder that we are all, truly, connected.
I returned to the family farm in 2008 armed with the appreciation that how I manage my animals and their environment has an immediate impact on the world at large. In 2009, I incorporated my Australian-found knowledge of rotational grazing to my own dairy farm. Likewise, my experience in Europe has fostered a passion for outreach and agricultural education. Very proudly, my farm has been featured in national advertising campaigns, regional radio and television programming, and prominently in local festivals and tours.
As the Agricultural Industry is ever changing, so too are attitudes and perceptions towards animal husbandry and food production. Not all of the changes are good. Not all of the trends are maintainable, but not all of the negative perceptions toward farming are true. Certainly, perspective and long-term dedication is desirable. I am ecstatic to provide context and real-world perspective on today’s Agricultural Industry through education and immersion.