I'm the editorial intern at PDP. As part of my job I have been able to write feature stories about students in the dairy industry. I've been able to talk to students and professors in dairy science programs all over the place. I've learned so many interesting things and talked with so many interesting people. I've especially learned a lot about the university dairy herds.
I think it is neat that there are student-run university dairies. I can't think of a better way learn the ropes in the industry. The students do all the work and most of the management, with only one faculty member supervising. Many students work their way into the herdsman position at the dairy. The herdsmen that I've talked to really enjoyed their experience and learned a lot--not just about managing cows, but even more importantly about managing people. Those people management skills will serve them well no matter what they do after graduation.
There are many students in the dairy industry who didn't grow up on farms. The university herds are an invaluable experience for them.
I'm also impressed with the things young people are learning from dairying. They are learning many of life's most basic lessons. So many young people have told me that they learned it was important to get involved in the industry. If they know how important it is to be involved in the industry, they know it is important to get involved with anything they care about, or with life in general.
Some students have told me they learned to "stick with it." If you are getting up at three or four every morning and working all day, you must know how to stick with it. That will carry over into all the other aspects of their life.
I've had other students tell me they learned to go all the way in whatever they do. If only every young adult and teenager could learn such a lesson. Even if they don't stay with dairying, they'll be invaluable in the workforce. I'm excited to see the difference they'll make in the world.
I'm pretty excited for the future--especially after talking to all these youth. Keep it up, everyone!