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 farm 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 feed yard. 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’.
I spent twenty years as the “boss lady” of our cattle feed yard. 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. In 2013 I was voted to Vance Publishing’s 40 under 40 in Agriculture, in 2014 I was awarded Beef Magazine’s Trail Blazer Award and in 2017 the National Beef Checkoff awarded me the “Advocate of the Year” award — all awards for my work in consumer outreach through this blog site and corresponding social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
I remain a member of the Tyson Fresh Meats Animal Well-being Committee for Farm Check and an avid advocate for the cattle industry. I recently joined the Beef Marketing Group team where I work on animal welfare and communications projects for the feed yards that belong to the coop. 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 (17), Megan (15), and Karyn (13). In addition to farm chores, our kids are busy with school, sports and other activities in our community. I continue to share my love of swimming and running as a volunteer coach for our local swim team, and as the assistant coach for the JH and High School Haymaker Cross Country team.