Paving my path in agriculture

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Greetings! My name is Cheyenne Eller and I am excited to announce that I am the fall communications intern at the Animal Agriculture Alliance. Here’s a little about myself…

I didn’t have the classic growing-up-on-a-farm childhood that many people involved in agriculture do. I grew up in a suburban town, but frequently visited my family’s cattle and tobacco farm. Spending time on the farm had me convinced I was born in the wrong generation. Farmers have always inspired me with the dedication they put into their 24/7 job. I wish that more people grew up with some type of farm experience because it really teaches you respect and a work ethic like no other.

Getting Started

My journey began in 5th grade when my parents thought horse back riding lessons would be a cute birthday present. They assumed it would be a once a week, hour commitment, tops. They quickly learned that riding a horse isn’t like going to soccer practice or karate class. You don’t get dropped off for your 5:00 p.m., 30-minute, lesson and leave at 5:30. Instead, you must get there a half hour early to groom your horse and put the tack on yourself. At the end of the lesson your reward is getting to give your horse a good brush or bath and then taking them on a walk to graze. Oh, and don’t forget to put all of the stuff you used back exactly where you found it!

Feeding a treat to famous “California Chrome” at his home in Kentucky

If I was good that week my parents would let me, after much begging, stay longer to give treats to all of the other horses in the barn (it’s not fair if you skip one). I remember saving the snack bags of carrots I would get every day from the school cafeteria to take with me to my weekly lesson. My parents would be lucky to get me in the car by 6:00, but I would have been happy to stay all night. To this day I still work and spend free time at the barn throughout the week and weekends, willingly.

Applying it

In high school I took multiple lessons a week along with working at the barn. I was looking for a way to link my developed passion for agriculture and a career. My sophomore year of high school I was informed about the AgDiscovery program run by the United States Department of Agriculture. This program allows you to attend a college for a few weeks to learn about the many aspects of agriculture. Before going into this program, agriculture to me had two options – the animal side and becoming a vet or the plant side and becoming a farmer. AgDiscovery opened my eyes to a wide range of jobs that were agriculture based.

Taken at the University of Maryland during my AgDiscovery program.

Making it a Career

I participated in AgDiscovery at the University of Maryland, College Park. Through this experience I fell in love with the campus and the complex network available within the Delaware-Maryland-Virginia area. When the time came for me to apply to college, UMD was at the top of my list. I was accepted into UMD and graduated with a degree in Animal Science. During my time on campus, I earned multiple leadership positions within clubs. This involvement allowed me to network and participate in amazing opportunities. I look forward to using my degree to pursue a career in animal agriculture education and outreach. Feel free to take some time to look into how our other interns got into agriculture! This a great opportunity to reflect on how you got involved in agriculture or how it influences your daily life.

All posts are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of the Animal Ag Alliance.

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