A native of urban Palm Beach County, Florida; I was an athlete fueled by beef for many years before I understood “where my beef came from”. ..
I spent my junior high and high school years juggling school and training five hours a day as a competitive swimmer and distance runner. Backstroke and Cross Country running were my respective specialties. In the spring of 1993 I graduated Salutatorian from Cardinal Newman High School with two state Cross Country Championships, a couple of second place state finishes in the Backstroke, and several trips to the USS Junior National Swimming Championships.
Looking for a “different” life experience in college, I turned down swimming scholarships and headed to the Ivy League. I arrived at Dartmouth College in the fall of 1993 “a jock”, and I am proud to say that I graduated Cum Laude– having successfully made the transition from jock to intellectual. My parents questioned the practicality of my psychology major, but I have always had a tremendous interest in the way that the brain works. Animal psychology particularly fascinated me and this is an interest that I continue to actively pursue today as the caregiver for thousands of animals.
Although I cannot even begin to describe all of the wonderful experiences that Dartmouth College granted me, meeting a farm boy from Nebraska tops the list. I met my husband Matt only two months after arriving in Hanover, New Hampshire and I knew the moment that our eyes met that my life had changed forever. We were married in June of 1996 and spent one more year in Hanover before making the move back “home” to Nebraska where Matt’s family owned and operated a diversified farm business.
Two days after receiving my B.A. in Psychology from Dartmouth College, I put on my blue jeans and went to work at the cattle feedyard. Although my years as a “city kid” left me with little preparation for working in the cattle business, my years of disciplined athletic training gave me both the mental and physical toughness that I needed to learn to care for cattle and work with Mother Nature. Right from the beginning, I found tremendous satisfaction from the knowledge that I was not only working hard to care for animals, but I was literally ‘feeding the world’.
Fifteen years later, I am the “boss lady” of the cattle feedyard and still spend my days in blue jeans and boots. In 2009, I was awarded the Beef Quality Assurance Producer of the Year Award for the volunteer work that I do promoting beef farmer education in cattle care (animal welfare), and food safety. I volunteer with the Nebraska Beef Quality Assurance Advisory Committee, and am also the Vice Chairman of the Cattle Health and Wellbeing Committee for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. I greet each day’s challenges with a smile knowing that I am using the gifts and talents that were bestowed upon me to both improve the welfare of the United States cattle herd and the safety of the beef that they produce.
We are a “family farm”, and Matt and I love the personal responsibility that our children learn from taking care of our land and our animals. We are blessed with three daughters: Ashley Grace (12), Megan (10), and Karyn (7). In addition to farm chores, our kids are busy with school, sports and other activities in our community.
The opinions expressed here are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of other farmers and ranchers. Hosting and technology support for this blog is made possible through funding from The Beef Checkoff. This blog, and others like it, provide a voice for farmers and ranchers who are dedicated to providing safe, wholesome and nutritious beef.