Best 2 credits-EVER

As our trip came to an end I was definitely not excited to go back to California. I learned so many things on this trip that I didn’t even know there was to learn. I am 99.9% sure I would like to return to Red Oaks, IA to 4K farms and partake in an internship. I would like to take a moment and sincerely thank Matt Kennedy for putting this trip together and giving us 16 students an opportunity of a lifetime! I don’t think there was a single stop that I was not interested in, I found something new and interesting at every single stop. Something that I found was really intriguing to me was research-that is something that I would like to be more a part of. This was by far the best 2 credits I have ever taken at OSU and hope to see it happen again in the near future.

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Hillbilly Bone da bone da bone bone

Today was definitely my favorite stop. We went to 4K farms in Red Oaks, IA where we got to personally meet Hillbilly Bone himself. This is one of the most famous boars around and it was absolutely incredible to meet him and get to see him personally and see some of his offspring as well. This is definitely somewhere I am going to look into going back and doing an internship-I think it would be an amazing experience and I would learn so much. At this stop we got to watch Kirk (the owner) take a semen sample from Hilton (one of the boars-Hillbilly Bone’s son) which was amazing and he took it back to his lab and let us watch it. When he takes a sample he needs to put extender in the semen for a more viable birth and adds a lot of added nutrients and keeps the sperm alive. We then went over to where there was a gilt in heat and we got to watch him artificially inseminate her! Once the gilt/sow shows signs of standing heat they wait about 12 hours before they inseminate her. Kirk likes to see his hogs built like a football player with the skeleton of a gymnast-I really thought that was a good way to look at the hogs. His hogs were absolutely giant and had a very flexible body. Kirk is a very firm believer of line breeding so that he knows he is capturing the most elite genetics, he likes to breed a lot through chromosome X because it captures quality traits and keeps it in line and consistent. We also got to see a lot of their equipment because Kirk’s brother Kent runs an operation with a lot of corn and soybeans.

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After 4K farms we left for Omaha, Nebraska.


We got to the Omaha zoo which was absolutely incredible!! I am so beyond blessed to have been able to go on a trip like this with such great people!! I can’t wait for the next one!

Farm to Orchard

Today was a fun day! We started the day driving three hours to arrive at the Shatto Dairy in Osborn, MO. When we got there we got to go into their little store and they are known for their flavored milks (root beer, cotton candy, peanut butter chocolate, coffee, and more!) They also had really good butter, ice cream and cheese curds! There cajun flavored cheese curds were my favorite. The dairy had close to 400 cows at the dairy and were continuing to grow because they are wanting to add new flavors! Their milking parlor was designed to have 6 cows on each side-they had mostly holsteins and a couple jersey crosses. They use a pre sanitizer spray on the teats and a post iodine dip. On a good, busy day they bottle about 14,000 bottles of milk.

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The second stop we went to was the Schweiver Orchards. They had around 40-50 employees and they had anywhere from apples to berries to pumpkins to christmas trees and some things in-between. It is a U-Pick operation for their apples and peaches. We also got to go on a hay ride of their operation and was very informed about the operation and the crops they grow. Overall a really great stop.

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Lastly, we got to stop at the American Royal which was the place where the first ever National Livestock show was held. There was a quarter horse show going on so we got to experience that. Right across the street was the Kansas City Livestock Exchange which was incredible to see. We also got told if we walked across the street to the other side of the parking garage we would then be in Kansas so we got to be in two states at once today! I am incredibly enjoying this trip and can’t wait for the next one!

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Day of Adventures!!

Today was definitely one for the books-we got to go to three different stops today which were all absolutely astonishing. We started the day in St. Joseph, MO at Triumph Foods where I never though I could be so amazed by something. We got to learn a lot about what they do and actually got to walk the floor of where the actual slaughter process and see everything in action. It was very interesting how many employees they have and they had different colored hard hats that distinguished who had certain jobs. It was very interesting to watch how efficient they were all at their jobs and the amount of stations triumph foods had. It was an overall awesome thing to see and is definitely one for the books in terms of learning how the whole slaughter process works and how humane the animals are treated. They slaughter about 21,000 pigs daily with over      employees. IMG_8955



The second stop we went to was called Green Dirt Farms which was a sheep dairy. It was really cool to see a dairy other than one housed with cows. The farm had a single 12 milking parlor that had self lock gates, the sheep put out about 2 pounds per milking and they milk them twice a day. Their operation runs on a management intensive grazing system where they let them out to a pasture and rarely feed them grains. They currently have 75 ewes on sight after they lost their  supplier for their ewes so the operation got smaller. They have their own cheese kitchen on site as well as they make yogurt. We also got to see their events center where they have events like their cheese appreciation event as well as farm dinners where a cook for the event is given two lambs and gets to make up their own menu for the event.

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Our third stop was to the Lewis Seeds/ Monsanto Field Plots. This was really cool because everything we learned at the Monsanto Research Center was applied here and we got to see it in effect on their soybean plants as well as corn. They had really cool research going on with their soybean plants that they were very proud of. It was nice to be able to see what we were taught at the research center and see it actually on the farm.

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Transfer time!

Today was a very informative day!! We only visited two stops but it was way too much information I though was possible. We started our day at the Purina Mills Research Farm today, this was an awesome tour! We got to load a bus and drive to 4 of 5 of their stops: equine, beef, dairy, and companion/exotic animals. They have a program going on with deer at the facility where they basically feed them the best stuff to improve antler growth which was pretty incredible.


They did have a swine unit but we were unable to see it because of the breakout of the PED disease. They have some really cool innovative ideas coming into effect.



The second stop we went to was the University of Missouri. Their campus farm was PHENOMENAL. They had over 1,800 acres that did not even include their dairy facility. We got to their Animal Science Research Center and then we proceeded to their swine unit where we got to see GLOW IN THE DARK PIGS-this is a study where they are testing retina depreciation in the sow that has the fluorescent gene in her, it was an awesome experience to be able to do that. They also had a really cool feed program at their beef center called Grow Safe and it basically calculated every time a registered calf came in to feed and how much it ate and went back into the database to give the researchers a tremendous amount of information .This is definitely something I would like to see happening at OSU in the near future.







Conquered my fear

Today we got the opportunity to tour St. Louis a little more and we started the day off at the courthouse and got to hear about a lot of the history that went along with it and how much it has changed.

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We then proceeded to St. Louis Arch-I was not originally going to go up in the arch because I am terrified of heights but I am beyond glad that I decided to go up there because the view was phenomenal!!

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After the arch we got to go on a riverboat tour up and down the Mississippi River and learn about some of the history of St. Louis. We got a great view of the arch and got to meet some very interesting people!



After the riverboat tour we proceeded to Chesterfield where we got to go to the Monsanto Research Center. We learned some pretty amazing things but I have to say-going to one of the best research universities has helped my knowledge of agriculture so much and definitely knew a lot about what they were talking about. Something cool that we saw was a seed chipper and that is not something I have ever been introduced to. They basically take a seed and chip off part of the seed without destroying the genome to get the best genetics for the best outcome. I am REALLY enjoying this trip-can’t wait for what else there is to come!


St. Louis

Today was the day…we landed in St. Louis, as we were waiting for everyone to arrive I was getting more excited for this trip and everything it has to come! When everyone finally arrived and we walked outside I immediately was drenched with the lovely humidity of Missouri. We then proceeded to the hotel and got ready to depart for the Cardinals game. It was a very exciting game and a great way to bond with everyone-who wouldn’t love all you can eat buffet!! I am excited for out adventures tomorrow and the next 6 days!!



Here is a picture from where we were sitting, it was raining during most of the game but we still had a blast!

Its almost here!!

I can’t believe this trip is finally here! When I received the email from Matt that the trip was less than 10 days away, I didn’t even realize it! I remember when I was little and anticipating that a trip was in the near future, I started packing a week in advance, I couldn’t sleep because all I did was think about the trip and would tell everyone about it! Well I feel like I am a kid again because that is all I have been doing. Something else that I am hoping to get out of this trip is hearing other peoples’ opinions on the agricultural industry and maybe that will open new doors for me. There are many doors that I hope to seek out on this trip and hopefully some that I never even thought about as a career option. See everyone in Missouri in 7 days!!

1962-1968, St. Louis, Missouri, USA --- St. Louis at Sunset --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis


“what do you want to do?”

All throughout the summer I have been asked: “What do you plan to do with your life after college?” I have found this to be a question I often cannot answer because I simply do not know. The agricultural industry has so many opportunities that I often find myself changing my mind constantly as to what I want to do with my degree. I often look at this as a positive problem. I have been looking forward to this trip ever since I got told I was going to be able to go. Growing up in a small community, I have had a lot of support with my degree choice and that definitely helps me move along. Some expectations that I have for this trip would definitely be to help me find my “path.” I have grown up around agriculture in the small rural town of Clarksburg, CA but, once you have lived around something for so long, you never think about what else could be out there as a career opportunity.

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I am excited to see how they manage farmland in the Midwest compared to farmers in California and Oregon. I am excited that this trip actually went through and I know we are all going to be very well educated and cannot thank Matt enough!!