Stories, opinions, facts, convictions, and lessons learned from a small town farm girl.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Land of Opportunity

I'm new to the blogging world, so please just bare with me as I venture into this new form of communication...

I'll start off with a little about myself so I can lay the groundwork for my readers. My name is Jessica and I grew up in western Maryland on a cow/calf operation. My whole life has revolved around agriculture and in my heart I always knew that it would be my greatest passion. I grew up showing cattle in 4-H, in high school I was very active in FFA, and I continued my pursuit of agriculture on into college. Last December I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from a university in eastern Kentucky. I will begin my work for my Master's degree in August at the Univeristy of Arkansas studying ruminant (cattle) nutrition. In the meantime, I have been blessed with the opportunity of a lifetime - an internship with a private, nonprofit agricultural research institute in southcentral Oklahoma - The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.

While I am a huge fan and follower of several other agricultural blogs highlighting the industry's production side, I would like to take a slightly different look at things - a side that is frequently overlooked and misunderstood... Agricultural research.

Now, please understand that I have just recently dove into the research side of the industry - up until a few years ago my entire life has centered around production ag... Striving for economic efficiency while turning over a profit. But frequently not much thought is put into how a farmer or rancher can become more economically efficient and who is behind the scenes making this happen...

Today, as I spent my afternoon in a greenhouse planting thousands upon thousands of switchgrass seeds into little tiny cells filled with sandy soil, I took a moment to stop and look around me. I was surrounded by scientists wearing white lab coats and rubber gloves, barrel after barrel of different varieties of soil, hundreds of different varieties of forages, several soil autoclaves, and over an acre of state-of-the-art greenhouses. I began to reflect on the life I've come to know and love for 22 years in a small town in western Maryland and just how far from that I am.

My dad has farmed nearly his entire life. Some of the grass seed that he plants annually for pasture to feed his cattle could have been developed right there where I sat in this chair. My grandfather, who is also a life-long farmer that works in his greenhouse from sun-up to sun-down, could have used tomato plants bred in the greenhouse right across from me. If Pap could only see this place I work... If he would've only had the opportunity to pursuit the dream that I pursuit every day.

I was struck with such strong emotion it nearly took my breath away. This is where it all starts - an idea, a plan, a dream - and the farmer is where it continues to take root and grow.

America is the land of opportunity and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine where it would take me. Oh, what I would give for my dad or pap - and for other family members who have passed on but managed to make agriculture their dream - to see agricultural research at its finest. But it is because they are who they are that I am who I am today. Their love for the land and agriculture instilled a drive in me that has allowed me to reach for my potential. And it is all I can hope for that they know just how much their passion alone can change their farm girl's world.

America is the land of opportunity. Do what you love. Love what you do.

No comments:

Post a Comment