Life at the NDSU Dairy Barn in the Perspective of a New Born Calf


After a long 285 days of growing in my mother, I am out in the real world. The first thing on my mind is getting fed. My mother’s first milk is called colostrum. It is special because it has antibodies to give me passive immunity against getting sick. I am suddenly exposed to a lot of new things. Just like human babies, I get a few shots right away to help prevent disease.


The people at the barn take very good care of me. They leave me inside the barn for the first couple days of life in a comfy pile of straw. I am checked on constantly by everyone here. They look for changes in my behavior, body, and even manure!


I am now outside in a hutch. The best part about living in a hutch is individualized care. Besides two bottles of milk a day, I get water and grain to snack on whenever I want!


Now that I am even bigger and stronger I get to move into a “super” hutch. Here I begin socializing with other calves. My stomach has grown enough that I can handle eating soley grain and no longer need milk. One of the best parts here is that I am introduced to hay!

jI am getting to be quite the big girl now. My friends  and I were moved into west barn. Here we get to eat grain, alfalfa, and hay.


I am no longer a heifer calf… but a real heifer. We have a big pasture of green grass to roam. Twice a day we get a mixed ration to eat. The managers at the barn keep a close eye on us to see when we are ready to breed. Kids from the S/S club on campus hang out with us in January and February. They train us for a showmanship contest on campus. We learn how to lead on a halter and get really awesome haircuts.


I am bred using artificial insemination. That way I get pregnant at exactly the right time and with the right semen, plus I don’t get hurt by a bull. The vet comes out about every two weeks to double check we are pregnant.


I spend the next 275 days with the other heifers waiting for our calves. We eat and sleep a lot so our bodies have plenty of energy to grow our calves. About a week before our due dates the people here bring us inside to “maternity bay.” We are now watched very closely. In case we have any issues delivering our calf, they will be there to help.

I have graduated from heifer to cow. I have given birth to my very first calf! My body is going through so many changes. It is now focusing on milk production. I don’t have very good mothering abilities, so I’ll be leaving that to the staff here. From here forward I will be doing my favorite things… sleeping, eating, and being milked.


In Sisterhood,


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Extension – Extending Services to the People

llllThanks to my summer job at the Becker County Extension Office my eyes have been opened to the number of people who do not realize a free resource that is available to them, that they may not take advantage of. This resource is the Extension Service, which was first established by the Smith-Lever Act in 1914. This act made the Extension Service part of the US Department of Agriculture, with it’s main goal of bringing research information from the Land Grant University to those who were not attending the University. Each state has an Extension Service based out of a land grant university. For example, in Minnesota it is through the University of Minnesota, and North Dakota State University is home to North Dakota Extension.

North Dakota Extension, just like many other State’s provides a multitude of programs across the entire State, covering many topics. In hopes of providing economic prosperity, community engagement and healthy citizens. Graphic from NDSU.

Local citizens have access to services through local Extension offices, located in every county. Programs are designed to provide citizens with up to date, relevant, resources. A fitting example is the Master Gardener program that allows horticulturalists to participate in trainings, and then volunteer time to help others with questions revolving around fruits, vegetables, flowers, trees, or anything plant related. 4-H is also run through local extension offices, where 4-H program coordinators are housed. Whether it is a nutrition, agricultural, youth or community development question the Extension Service can more than likely answer your question or refer you to someone who can.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to an Extension Professional with your next question.

University of Minnesota Extension:

North Dakota State University Extension:

Photo from the University of Minnesota


In Sisterhood,



Why I Need Sigma Alpha

 In Sisterhood,

Sigma Alpha Fall 2017-0228
Katie Solfest – Political Science

Man’s Best Friend

As a college student, with freedom for the first time, people often do things without thinking it through. Let’s take owning a dog for instance. Growing up, there are a lot of households who had parents that didn’t allow pets. This can lead any young adult to the want and need to have a furry companion. Buying a dog is sometimes the first major, non-school related, purchase a college student makes, but it can be a major life change as you have this responsibility on top of school and work.

I’d like to give a couple of tips about buying a dog to help prevent you from having to return the dog to be re-homed elsewhere. First, you should think about is whether you have the time for a dog. Dogs need food, which costs money, and they need you home to be able to feed them at least once or twice a day. They also have potty needs, which, like a human, is every few hours. You can’t leave a dog home from morning until night time without potty breaks or you can expect puddles on your floor. This can be discouraging and is often the biggest reason dogs get returned. It takes time to potty train a dog and you must be able to give him or her time to train and do your part at keeping up with their daily needs. Where there’s a dog, there’s energy. This is where knowing your dog breeds comes in handy. I highly recommend doing some research before buying the cutest puppy at the pet store. Watch some Dog 101 videos or read online the different sizes, energy, and lifespan of different dog breeds. If you are a couch potato, then you wouldn’t want to buy a black lab while if you enjoy hunting and fishing that might be the perfect match for you. By knowing your dog, you can fulfill its needs to the best of your ability.


Once you know all about your dog, you’ll know whether you need to set time apart to walk your dog every day or twice a day or if you can go home and relax to a movie and cuddle your furry friend. If you’re a dog person, like myself, I hope you take the time to think through your decision to buy a dog, especially the research part of it. Most dogs live over a decade, so you want to find the perfect one to fit your life style. I hope this helps get the mind thinking, and I wish you and your new companion the best of luck!


In Sisterhood,



5 Things to Remember While Working Outside

When warm weather comes it means that it’s time to start working outside. Here are a few things to consider when spending a lot of time outside.

  1. Wear Sunscreen- If you’re anything like me then you burn very easily. Putting on sunscreen takes two minutes and will protect you from a future of burns and possibly more severe health problems, like skin cancer.
  2. Use Bug Spray- Working outside while being swarmed with bugs can ruin your day. Using bug spray can also help prevent the spread of diseases.
  3. Bring Snacks- You know you always want to eat your lunch by 9 a.m. anyways so you might as well bring some snacks along.
  4. Carry a pocket knife/Leatherman- Because you never know when you’re going to need it and a lot of tools mysteriously disappear from the toolbox.
  5. Drink Water- Because its good to stay hydrated, especially when working in hot, sunny conditions.

In Sisterhood,


Sigma Alpha Fall 2017-0220
Morgan Gallagher – Biotechnology

Understand Your Limits

I was just like any other kid when they started looking into colleges. I was nervous, I didn’t know if I should believe what everyone was saying and I wasn’t sure if I would even like where I decided to go. From the moment you are even told about college, you are bombarded with information. It can range from faculty to the campus map or from classes to take to clubs to join. Now I may not be like the typical student that did student council in high school or was super involved in the French club or choir or band. I was the kid that had one really good friend to hang out with and who worked 30+ hours a week in while in school. I thought this was enough but somewhere deep down I knew I was missing out on something.

Being someone who does the bare minimum wasn’t working out for me. I wanted to go on class trips or volunteer at the food shelf. Everyone always made it look like it was so much fun. That’s when I decided college was going to be different. I wanted to be a part of more than just a typical college part time job and thankfully I was forced to.

AGRI 189. Pretty much any freshman (who hadn’t brought in credits from high school) had to take this class. It was almost like NDSUs personal college for dummies book. My teacher was Loren Baranko and if anyone knows her, she will make sure you have fun in her class. One of our assignments was to go to the fall organization fair that happens outside the union. This fair showcases the clubs NDSU has to offer and helps students basically find their “in” on campus. Now I had never really seen myself as a sorority girl. I thought had maybe participating in Greek life but then a new opportunity presented itself to me, Sigma Alpha, Sisters in Agriculture. I thought what a perfect fit and it has proven to be one of the best decisions I have made.


I have been involved in other activities like Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, ND Collegiate Farm Bureau, and Saddle and Sirloin. All of these clubs have helped me enjoy my college career so much more but it hasn’t come without some struggle. Like I mentioned I wasn’t an active student in high school other than working so I decided to make up for it in college. While yes I have enjoyed all of these organizations I realized I am not Wonder Woman. I have to learn to prioritize and say no when I know that school needs to be a priority.


That being said I would never want to discourage anyone coming to college from join an organization or two, I only want to advise that you definitely learn or already possess time management skills. Joining these organizations have only helped me and given me the greatest experiences I could have asked for!


In Sisterhood,


Samantha is a Senior majoring in Agribusiness with minors in Animal Science and Business Administration. She is currently Alumni Liaison and Social Chair.

Taking a Step Back

As the semester wraps up, it can be easy to get caught up in projects, studying, and work. But it’s important to take a step back, relax, and enjoy every moment you have left because it goes way too fast.

This April has been a particularly tough time for my family. I recently lost my great aunt which was followed by my uncle only a few days later. Death happens at the most inconvenient times. I was particularly busy with school and work and truly couldn’t afford to miss a day. I had to stop and remind myself what was really important. Hardships like this remind us to slow down and enjoy every day.


I was surrounded by an overwhelming amount of support from my Sigma sisters, especially the ones I have been blessed to live with. The friends that you meet in college end up being so much more than friends. They really do become your family.

Death has a funny way of putting things into perspective. It reminds you to take a chance, to go on that crazy spring break road trip, and overall to just take a step back from the chaos and enjoy what you have.

As cliché as it is: live every moment to the fullest. 

As I reflect on the semester I can’t believe how fast it went. I can’t believe how not ready I am to say “see ya later” to the graduating seniors, or to not spend every day with the roommates who became family. It’s never easy to say goodbye to loved ones, but it makes us cherish every moment with the ones we still have.

So, a big thank you to the girls who put up with me, take care of me, and make me laugh until I cry (pretty much on the daily). There’s absolutely no way I would make it through college without my Sigma Alpha sisters.


In loving Memory of Tim Corcoran and Sherron Quiring



In Sisterhood,


Erin is a junior majoring in Equine Science with minors in Ag Business and Animal Science. Currently, she is serving as the Sigma Alpha Recruitment Chair.