Beef & Crop Farm
Tell us about your agriculture background.
I am the fourth generation on my family’s 500-acre crop and beef farm, which was originally a dairy. Though my family no longer focuses on dairy production, I have always had a dairy background. When I was eight my parents bought me my first Holstein and I was a member of the Cochranton Blue Ribbon 4-H Club for my entire 4-H career. I graduated with a degree in Animal Science from the Pennsylvania State University in 2014 and am currently pursuing a concurrent master’s degree in the Psychology of Leadership and Public Administration.
You spent time as the state's Dairy Princess.
What did you like about your time with
I loved the people! It didn’t matter if it was a resident of Philadelphia or a member of a 4-H club from rural Pennsylvania, I loved hearing people’s stories!
What is your current job?
Currently, I work as a legislative aide to a member of the State House. However, I am in transition and will soon be working for the Pennsylvania Republican Party as a Field Organizer for the upcoming election cycle.
What have you learned with your time in government that could help
Farm Bureau members be more effective in the legislative process?
Two very important tips that I cannot stress enough to the farming community:
1) Every voice counts.
2) Get to know your legislators.
Any time you call, email, or visit a legislative office, that meeting is recorded so that the legislator can revisit that information at any time. If there is a particularly controversial piece of legislation being voted on, elected officials have the ability to look back at those visits and your opinions to get a better idea of how their constituency feels about that topic. The only way for local, state, and federal elected officials to know how legislation directly impacts your operation is for you to tell them.
Get to know your legislators. Contrary to popular belief, politicians do not know everything. They rely on the estimations of experts when making decisions, just as we all do. The bottom line is that you know your business better than they do. If you are the first person that they call when they have a question about agriculture, it’s a win-win for both sides.
Why is it important for young farmers to be involved in Farm Bureau?
More cow selfies! But seriously, feeding the world is really becoming a global issue that is receiving a lot of media coverage. It is an exciting time to be in the industry. We, as the youth of the nation, need to market rural America as a place for the young, the inventive, and the entrepreneurial. We need to be screaming from the mountain tops, “If you want to make a difference, agriculture is the place to do it!”
Unfortunately, United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack hit the nail on the head when he suggested that rural America, with its shrinking population, is becoming less politically relevant in the country’s increasingly urban landscape. However, I think it is important to note that the word relevance should not be confused with the word importance. The relevance of the issue is in terms of population. If you have fewer people living in rural areas, then over time the number of people elected to represent those areas will be inevitably less. Even so, the “backyard chicken movement” has really taken off. Consumers are paying more attention to where their food comes from than they ever have before, and together we can combat the population issue with consumer awareness. As farmers continually become a smaller group, public education is key for us to overcome the shrinking voter block.
Lastly why are you a Farm Bureau Member?
I am a Farm Bureau member because I appreciate any organization that fights on behalf of rural Pennsylvania, just as I do. I also admire that Farm Bureau offers both farmer and non-farmer memberships. This allows anyone who wishes to be involved access to the members and the organization, and for them to also feel like they can make a difference and effect change in a comfortable environment. I have been witness to this personally in Crawford County. As a first-time Farm Bureau member, the Board of Directors of the Crawford County Farm Bureau has graciously welcomed me and my ideas with open arms!