Ag Forum from a New Perspective

Every year Collegiate Farm Bureau puts on an agriculture forum. This forum brings in local legislators, community people, professors and students alike to have the opportunity to ask questions directly to the political representatives. This year Collegiate Farm Bureau brought in Senator Roy Blunt and Congressmen Billy Long. This year they chose the Vice President of Missouri Farm Bureau Todd Hayes to be the moderator. Samantha Warner, the collegiate president, and Dr. Anson Elliott, Head of the Agriculture School, also took time to say a few words.

 

In years past I had not noticed what an important event this was for the School of Agriculture. I just saw it as an annual event. This year I noticed it was all about relationships. It is important to take the time to focus on the relational side of the forum and what that says about the parties involved.

Senator Roy Blunt speaks at the podium.

I saw this forum as a way for everyone to maintain the relationships that have existed for so long across multiple levels. Relational maintenance behaviors where shown by almost everyone at the forum. Of course, both the political figures where positive. When they answered questions they were always sure to leave it on a positive note since direct question and answer time does not happen often and they need to keep it positive so attendees remember them in a positive manner.

 

There was also a lot of assurance happening. Samantha addressed the audience at the beginning for a welcome and a thank you at the end. She of course had the responsibility of maintaining assurances for all aspects of the room; faculty, politicians, community members and of course her peers, the students. A social network was also a part in the evening. Professional, personal and acquaintance contacts were at the forum as well. I saw people I knew from across the board at the event, people that I know through personal contact, professional experiences and academically. Maintaining behaviors happens when you assure others, stay positive and introduce others into your social network.

 

This is just one great example how you can take every opportunity you have an make it into something meaningful to you.

A group of William H. Darr School of Agriculture students at the annual forum.

“Is that a fat joke!?”

Let me first just say that this is a post about my best friend affair with one of the most important people in my life.

To understand us you have to know us.

Cassie came to visit me for my 21st birthday!

I first met my best friend Casteel Kanoi Kirk, non Hawaiian, our freshmen year here at Missouri State. We pretty much instantly became friends after a few unmentionable moments in and around campus. Last year being a Resident Assistant on campus almost broke us apart not seeing each other. We found time to hang out at the local eateries or as others call them fast food restaurants. Then last summer she left for western Kansas. Her and I first went on a blogging adventure so we could keep each other up to date about lives and share our funny happenings with others. It did not go so well to say the least. This time around we have separate blogs and it seems to be going much better. This week she is going to be my guest blogger and I am going to put my favorite post up from her blog.

Our outfits before we went to Joplin for the Polar Plunge!
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Woman and her fork
There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live.  So as she  was getting her things ‘in order,’ she contacted her Pastor  and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of  her final wishes.
She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like  read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.
Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly  remembered something very important to her.
‘There’s one more thing,’ she said excitedly.
‘What’s that?’ came the Pastor’s reply.
‘This is very important,’ the young woman continued.  ‘I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.’
The Pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say.’That surprises you, doesn’t  it?’ the young woman asked.

‘Well, to be honest, I’m  puzzled by the request,’ said the Pastor .

The young woman explained.  ‘My Grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement.  In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared,  someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’  It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming…like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie.  Something wonderful, and with substance!’
So, I just  want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want  them to wonder ‘What’s with the fork?’  Then I want you to tell them: ‘Keep your fork … The best is yet to come.’
The Pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman good-bye.  He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did.  She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and knowledge.  She KNEW that something better was coming.
At the funeral people were walking by the young woman’s casket and they  saw the cloak she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand.  Over and over, the Pastor heard the question,  ‘What’s with the fork?’  And over and over he smiled.
During his message, the Pastor told  the people of the conversation he had with the young woman shortly before she died.  He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her.  He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them  that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.
He was right.  So the next time you reach down for your fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come.  Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed.  They make you smile and encourage you to succeed.  Cherish the time you have and the memories you share.  Being friends with someone is not an opportunity, but a sweet responsibility.
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This passage is from my favorite post of Cassie’s and if you know either one of us it is very fitting. It fits our love of God, food, friends and the outlook we try to have on life day in and day out. After living with and sharing a room with my best friend my only words of advice would be to not let things come between you. We basically have came to the conclusion that we are sisters, not just through Sigma Alpha but through everything. If we do not like something the other one is doing we come out and say it and just try not to let it worry us. There are bigger things out there in the world that are more important.
Rocking red bull during finals week last year.

Kelsie’s Commencement

I am a Senior at Missouri State University. I will be graduating May 18 from the College of Natural and Applied Sciences, William H. Darr School of Agriculture with my Bachelor of Science Degree in General Agriculture with an emphasis in Communications.

Graduation will be at 1:30pm on at JQH Arena on the Springfield, MO campus.

I am graudating a year early from MSU and I just thought I would give a short run down about my plans for those that do not know.

During the fall semester I was trying to find internships. In November, I received an offer from CNH to fulfill a three month internship in Racine, WI. I will be working in one of their corporate offices as an Online Marketing Intern.

Getting my Masters Degree is a definite possibility. I have applied and been accepted to the Student Affairs in Higher Education program at Missouri State University. In the next few months I will have to decide if I am going to continue to pursue my education or if I will begin a job search.

I will of course keep you posted, but until then….

UPDATE:

As of April 18, 2012 I was offered and accepted a graduate assistantship in the Missouri State University Alumni Center. My duties as a GA will include being an adviser to the student organization REAL Bears. REAL Bears is a service organization on campus that allows students the unique opportunity to to make connections with MSU alumni and donors. Another aspect of the GA includes being apart of the Alumni Center staff.

The GA is in the Alumni Center but my studies will be focused in Student Affairs. Over then next two years I will be studying the areas of: counseling, higher education theory, research in higher education, leadership in higher education and the legal and ethical side that educational institutions face.

 

This summer I will am able to fulfill my internship in Racine, Wisconsin. I will be an online marketing intern and will be moving out there May 20, 2012, the weekend after I graduate with my undergraduate degree.

 

I could not be more excited that I have this amazing opportunity to peruse another degree and at my Alma Mater.

Farmer Jim

“Have you talked to your Mom?”

“No. Why?”

“We got the cows preg checked…”

“Oh…”

“Not a one is pregnant.”

For any livestock producer this news is devastating. Just last week I heard this from my dad at the local gas station when we met for the morning chores. For a full time farmer this is a total loss. Equivalent, in my eyes, to becoming laid off and loosing your job without a chance to find a new job till the next season.

My family and I moved to Amish country almost 7 years ago. Mom and dad have wanted to build a house since they got married nearly 27 years ago and it finally become a reality on the land that has been in my dad’s family for over 100 years. That’s right, we are first generation farmers on a Missouri Century Farm…… My dad’s family has a history of farming in the area. He worked on relatives and family friends farms growing up but his immediate family did not grow up living on a farm and I grew up in town. When I was starting my Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) when I was a Green Hand in FFA my dad was buying his first load of commercial cow/ calf pairs. Going through the experience of buying cattle, starting a working farm and transitioning into a farm family was a dream come true for this city dweller.

Since my dad has a full time job in town hearing that our bull went sterile was hard but there are worse things that could have happened and our family is lucky that selling calves is not our only source of income.

We keep the cattle in a small space so that it is easier to work with each animal. It also keeps the farmer safe.

Regardless, we still had a list of errands to run that morning and work to do on the farm. We have a small commercial heard of 12 momma cows. If you take a ride on our four- wheeler they follow you around like puppies because they think it is my dad getting ready to feed them something special. After we got done with our errands in town dad and I’s plan was to “work” the cattle. We had to move the cattle into the pin and bring them through the shoot. We had to pour dewormer and fly medicine on their backs, tag 2 of them and then keep the bull back since we would be getting rid of him at the beginning of the week.

We tag our cattle so that we can keep more accurate records for each animal. It is like when we get our ears pierced, she did not like it too much so she started to lay down. But what girl doesn't like new jewelry?

Even though we have a small opperation going home to visit the farm and being with family is one of my favorite things to do. When dad has stuff to do on the farm he calls it his chores and getting to spend last Friday and Saturday helping do “chores” is okay by me when it gets to be with Farmer Jim.

Dad walking to let the cattle back out into the field.

Jeremiah the Great

I went to write about Spring Break 2012. Then I realized it all had to do with Jeremiah, my boyfriend. I thought I would help put the story together a bit by giving you some background about us.

Jeremiah and I during my last visit in Seattle, Washington.

Jeremiah Smith, age 26, graduated high school in 2004 from Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Missouri. After high school he enlisted into the Air force. Next he moved to Colorado for a short time thinking he would start college after being in the Air force and living in Arizona for the last four years. Living the college life was not in God’s plan for Jeremiah. He got the opportunity to have a job deploying for a government contracted job. Most who make it out of the armed forced without deploying consider themselves lucky. Go on about their daily lives and that is that. Jeremiah got out without deploying and then takes a job where he chooses to leave the country for anywhere from four to eight months at a time.
Now to the more present how did we cross paths? Both Springfield area natives, but he is older and just cames back to visit friends and family. Remember Kickapoo? Remember my mention of my Aunt in one of my original posts? Well she used to teach at Kickapoo. Jeremiah was my Aunt Keri’s student worker while in high school. Keri was Jeremiah’s assistant speech and debate coach. They both stayed in contact over the years. Jeremiah has grown to become friends with not only Keri but also her husband, my uncle, Aaron.
Mid- September 2011, Aaron had an exciting 40th birthday to celebrate. Jeremiah was still on leave from work since he came back from a deployment in mid-July. The night of Aaron’s celebration Jeremiah had just gotten back from a trip from Colorado he took with his dad. Low and behold, Jeremiah is in town to celebrate and so is the niece! How we never crossed paths before this time I do not know. But this is the night it all started.

The first night we met.

I will save the sappy details and “whirl wind” romance for another time. We started dating soon after and I have now been to the Pacific Northwest area three times since December.

The Southern “Foodie”

I found myself pondering blogging topics, like I do every week, and coming up unsuccessful. I came across a video from a fellow PR in AG classmate (via Google+ of course) and I started watching it. After getting sucked in by yet another video I realized I was going on yet another rant. I have been doing this lately and I decided to blog about it and see what others had to say.

This video is just over 18 minutes long. With all of these youtube videos I have been watching lately they seem to be all about food. Most of them are: agriculture needs to change, You’re killing our kids, I hate the USDA and so on and so forth. This speaker said she saw the business aspect of agriculture and the technological changes that have been going on the last decade. This caught my eye right off. Though she does not have an agriuclutre background and her general message is still the same I still have these burning questions.

Has the increase in processed foods caused an increase in health problems? What do people in the agriculture industry have to say when speakers like this insinuate that processed products and new seeds and genetics cause health related issues?  When I talk to my peers in the industry or in school with me we tend to blame the health issues on over eating, eating the wrong portion sizes and lack of education. Our society needs to be more active and eat better. This will change our problems. Back in the day food was not as easy to come by and we start to blame McDonalds and other large food chains.

I do not personally think it is agriculture’s fault. Everything from subsidies, technology on the farm and the numerous bi- products that food can be made into or have uses for all make our food cheap. Does that mean it is okay? Is it the cause for health issues? And even if we watch our portions and use moderation it seems as if all of our food that we eat from corn syrup to soy meat filler is processed. I could spend hours just in the damn bread isle looking at the ingredients list. If people blame ag do we just tell them you have to know what your eating, where it comes from and what it contains?

I feel like I know what is bad and good when it comes to food knowledge, but all these “foodies” blame agriculture, the food industry or the government. Don’t you and shouldn’t have to be proactive and know what your putting in your mouth? How is it agriculture’s job to teach you how to shop!? Because other industries do not have this problem. For example, if I go to a store and buy a dress, wear it to school then get made fun of because it is ugly, doesn’t fit right, is not in style and makes me look fat this could cause years of therapy and depression. Do I blame the designer, the store or the fashion industry for not knowing how to dress my body?  NO!  So is it agriculture’s responsibility to grow, produce and make everyone nutritionally aware? Was it not your own mothers job to teach you chocolate milk does not come from a chocolate cow and if you drink only chocolate milk 3 times a day you will probably start to gain weight?

I would love to know others thoughts on this. I love to hear all sides of each story. But I am at a loss as to why farmers are to blame for trying to feed our hungry ass?


Case New Holland, Wisconsin and Me

On May 18, 2012 at 1:30pm I will graduate with my Bachelor of Science Degree in General Agriculture Communications with an emphasis in Communications. A day later I will be loading up Dad’s truck with the remains of my apartment and loading my car with my belonging for the summer and Jeremiah to head to Racine, Wisconsin. For three glorious months I will be interning with Case New Holland (CNH). I will work in their corporate office as an online marketing support intern. Simply put, I will be helping the CNH marketing team by updating their blogs, websites, brochures, flyers, digital photo files and staying in constant communication with the local CNH dealers so that the know how to keep their marketing material up to date.

You might be wondering how I got this position. Well it all started in October. My friend, Cassie, and I were working the recruitment booth at the National FFA Convention Career Show. We decided to go on a short break and walk around to ask about internships. At the time I was not sure if I was going to be graduating a year early, picking up a minor, studying abroad or starting graduate school. As Cassie and I worked our way around the huge room filled wall to wall with potential agricultural employers we came across the Case booth.

The representatvies at Case took time to flatter our request of asking about internships. They asked what we were looking for and some of our experiances, right there! To the recruiters of CNH. We each got seperate names and cards for the people or departmetns that best fit us.

We returned to Missouri from convention cards and FFA t-shirts in hand and emails that needed to be written. Cassie and I both applied for our separate positions and both ended up getting the offers we wanted. Cassie will be going to Pennsylvania and I will be going off to Wisconsin. Case will provide house and I slowly have been getting employment information in the mail.

It is amazing how little steps like talking to someone at a convention can make sure a difference. God has a crazy plan and I cannot wait to have this summer adventure away from Missouri and to experience what it is like to live away, away from home. If you have any advise or words or wisdom it is all welcomed with open arms! 🙂