Talk about a connection you've made because of the dairy industry. It can be a new friend, someone your own age; a mentor who has or will help you pursue your dairy goals; or a 4-H leader or teacher you're grateful for.
I have made a LOT of connections in the dairy industry and other industries that support it. I am extremely blessed to know a lot of smart, hard working, generous, kind people. I know I’ll leave someone out, but that doesn’t mean I’m not grateful for them.
At Cross Country Genetics, Mr. Kim Harsh, Dr. Steven Clifton, and herd manager Mr. John Curtis have helped me out with preg checks and ultrasounds to help in my breeding program. They even let me get hands-on with palpation!
Mr. Gene Hall, Jr. of Hall’s Ayrshires in Cushing, OK and Mr. Gary Hawk of Hawk’s Dairy in Lacey/Hennessey, OK have helped me with boarding, milking, and breeding.
Mrs.Trish Cobb of Cobblestone Dairy in Perkins, OK has always been very supportive and a great cheerleader for me when she hears I’ve had something published.
The Van der Laan family of the Van der Laan Dairy/Sunshine Dairy in Frederick, OK has always been so kind and helpful and supportive and good examples of hard work and sportsmanship for me. They make me smile.
Mr. Rodney Wegener of COBA/Select Sires, formerly of Wegener Dairy in Minco, OK, made me a purchase agreement on my first Holstein and got me started with the breed.
Miss Kaylynn Million of the Million Dairy of Talequah, OK, who now works at the Oklahoma State University Dairy, first showed me what a sweet, hard working, helpful State Dairy Princess should be like.
Mrs. Susan Allen of Dairy MAX allowed me to help promote dairy foods as a part of a nutritious diet at many state events.
Ms. Kara Eschbach of the Tulsa State Fair Livestock show gave me the opportunity to blog for the show, and then Ms. Emily Caldwell gave me the opportunity to blog monthly for Proud To Dairy and sometimes even gives me a mention in Progressive Dairyman!
Then there is the Jennings family of Stillwater and Crescent, OK. Ms. Christy Jennings is my 4-H leader, Ag teacher, and she will be my FFA advisor as of next year when I’m in 8th grade Ag. Most of all, she is my mentor. She got me interested in dairy when I went to my first FFA petting zoo as a toddler. She helped get me my first Ayrshire. She invited me to do peewee showmanship at every dairy show she and the big kids would be at. She continues to teach me how to judge dairy. She taught me how to milk out a cow. She’s taught me how to give injections. She’s taught me about diet and dairy health. She’s tried to teach me everything, really. She tries to teach me all of the whys and whens and hows. I can safely say that I would not be involved with dairy today if it hadn’t been for Ms. Jennings, and I sure wouldn’t be successful without her. Not only has she got me involved with dairy, but also speeches, power point presentations, display booths, impressive dress, talent contest, food showdown, style show, shooting sports, indoor exhibits, news articles, chapter officers, cattle grading, CDEs, orphan calves for profit, you name it. She's taught me how to work hard and fast. She also teaches and models good character. She is very wise. We need more people like her in the world.
Her brother, Mr. Alan Jennings of Brightside Farm, is another one of my mentors. My mom says he is like the “Rainman of Dairy”. He remembers placings. He remembers genetics. He remembers bloodlines. He remembers everything! He made sure I got started with Ayrshires. He helps me pick out animals to buy. I never would have bought Jerseys without his encouragement. He picked out some Brown Swiss for me to buy. He tells me which sires would be best to use on my heifers. He does almost all of my A.I.ing. Just like his sister, he explains everything. He tells me what I should do, what I should improve, and how to make all kinds of things better. He helps me make connections with the right people, too.
Their parents, Roger and Mary Kay, are also great. They are very encouraging. The whole family is involved in running all of the dairy judging contests at all of the dairy field days in the state. They are all involved in the PDCA and the Sooner State Dairy Show. They assist with different shows, too. They are on a mission to increase the dairy programs in the state of Oklahoma. They are really good at making good things happen.
These are just some of the people that I can think of off the top of my head. The thing about these great people is that they don’t just do this stuff for me. They do these things for ALL the kids that are interested. They do everything they can to help.
They are truly BLESSINGS, and I don’t even know if they realize it. They are part of the reason that I register under the name of GodBless Dairy Enterprises. God blessed me by putting all of these people in my life. I can hardly wait to see who else will come my way in the future!