But it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. ~ 2 Timothy 1:10
God promised us life after death, He sent his own son for our sake. Jesus healed the sick and fed the hungry. His greatest gift to us was taking our sins away by dying on the cross. But the story did not end there. He then rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. Jesus destroyed death and gave us all an everlasting life in heaven. By believing in him, we too will someday join him there. Jesus’ actions then give us hope today.
For by the grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, but a gift of God – not by works, so that no one may boast. ~ Ephesians 2:8-9
The world we live in is troubled by sin, but heaven is free from sin. After life on this earth, we are freed to a place of love. This everlasting home will be filled with God’s glory. We will be at peace. We will forever be with all our loved ones in a safe place. Your faith in God is the only ticket to heaven. Grace has set you free. The good works you do are not to “earn your spot.” We do good deeds because we are to live a life like Him.
The Lord rules over the deep waters; he rules as king forever. The Lord gives strength to his people and blesses them with peace. ~Psalm 29:10-11
God knows everything about you. From the color of your eyes to the troubles in your heart. He knows when you are feeling pain. He welcomes you to talk to him through prayer and find peace in the words of The Bible. When you come across tough times in your life, He will be there for you. One of the greatest gifts God has given us is our family and friends. In tough times, find strength in those around you. Always remember how much God loves you.
In Loving Memory of Jaynie Halvorson
I pray you’ll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don’t know
Let this be our prayer
As we go our way
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your Grace
To a place where we’ll be safe
I was raised on a cow/calf and meat goat farm in Eastern Kentucky. All of my favorite memories growing up involved working with animals. I knew ever since I could remember I wanted to spend the rest of my life working with and helping animals. If you asked me when I was a kid what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have told you a veterinarian, because that was the one occupation I knew of that helped animals.
After I graduated high school I started volunteering at a vet clinic to gain experience and to see if I liked working in a vet’s office. As summer ended I was about to start college, I was hired on and I worked in vet clinics until I went to grad school. I loved working as a Vet Tech, but I didn’t realize the moral stress that comes with the job. Being an animal lover you want to be able to do everything in your power to help an animal and sometimes in the veterinary world there are limits to what you can do based on the will of the pet owner. Time grew on I couldn’t shake the feeling being a veterinarian was not a good fit for me.
Halfway through my undergraduate career the HBO movie Temple Grandin aired and I found the direction I had been looking for, another career that helps animals, animal welfare. I shifted my studies to reflect this epiphany. As graduation approached I made many potential plans for the future just in case my number one plan of applying for a Master’s at Colorado State University studying under Temple Grandin did not pan out. Just a couple weeks after applying I got a call from Dr. Grandin and that started the next chapter in my life.
At times it still does not feel real I got to study under my career idol and I am so grateful that I had this opportunity. Fate interceded and led me down a different path, I have now been working in the field of Livestock Animal Welfare for over two years and I still love it. With my work in animal welfare I feel more empowered to make positive changes to help animals, which brings me less stress and more satisfaction in my job than I had before as a Vet Tech. However, being a veterinarian doesn’t mean you have to work in a vet clinic, you can do numerous things even have a career focused in animal welfare. Knowing this, I decided against vet school, because I am very happy doing what I am doing now. Ultimately, I did not get the degree or job title I dreamed of having, but I dreamed of helping animals and I am able to do that with animal welfare.
I remember when I came to tour NDSU, it was in the dead middle of winter on a negative 30 degree day. I figured if I liked the school when it was that cold I would love it when it was a nice fall day and 65 degrees out.
I can’t believe freshman year was already two years ago. It seems like it was yesterday when I walked into Thompson Hall room 504 and met my roommates. I was lucky enough to get a great roommate, who I still live with today. After learning the ropes a couple weeks into freshman year, I knew that I had chosen the right place to spend the next four years. Going to classes, joining clubs, attending the football games was just everything I had hoped for when I pictured college.
As I moved onto my sophomore year, I couldn’t believe how fast time was going. I was getting into more classes that pertained to my major, meeting even more new people, and still trying to figure my life out. During my sophomore year, I decided to join Sigma Alpha. This is one of the best decisions I have made at NDSU. Sigma Alpha has taught me so much and some of my best friends are the ladies in Sigma Alpha. I have gained so much by being part of this sorority.
I am now part way through my junior year and it has been the best year yet. I have found a great group of friends who I wouldn’t trade for the world. Staying up till 2 a.m. talking about anything and everything, making midnight trips to Walmart for ice cream, sitting around the kitchen table talking about how our days were, and the occasional visit from my roommate’s friendly dog. These are the moments I will remember when I look back and think of college, not the time when I didn’t do as well on the test as I think I did or the time I didn’t get the position in the club I wanted. I will remember all of the memories I made with the great group of friends I have.
Picture this. A 21 year old college student about to embark on a post-college world. She has only a dream and a diploma to guide her. I am about to be that girl. College is a very significant time for young adults. I know, personally, it has held some of the most memorable, challenging, and fun years of my life. Currently I’m facing my final exams before I move on to the last semester of my college career. It’s hard to believe I’ve always looked forward to getting to the end of the semester and through my finals tests, while right now, all I want to do is prolong the time I have left.
Therefore, my advice to anyone reading this post would be enjoy the time you have and make sure to live in the now. If you’re always looking forward to the future, you’ll miss out on the present. I’ve always tried to error on the side of caution, but living your life that way can lead to some missed experiences and opportunities. I’m thankful for the experiences that I have had thus far and the people I’ve met along the way, especially the people that I’ve met along the way. If there is one thing that I am really going to miss when I leave college it’s definitely going to be the people and friends I use to see every day.
So, put away the laptop, take that 20 minute study break, and go get coffee with a friend. Enjoy college while you can, because sooner or later it ends and your left with only the memories and the $20,000 dollars in debt.
My love for animals has been the driver of my career path for as long as I can remember. I remember sitting inside the farrowing crate with the newborn piglets, adopting stray cats with one leg, loving every dog I saw and truly thought I deserved to have a monkey, but settled for a stuffed Curious George.
I graduated from SDSU (Go Jacks!) with a B.S. degree in Animal Science. I have been extremely fortunate as my career allowed me to work with livestock producers that share the same passions I do in regards to raising and caring for animals. I’ve had roles in different departments, changed species from Pork to Turkey, worked with producers raising livestock in conventional to high animal welfare systems and currently transitioned into frozen inventory management. These opportunities all have one thing in common which is the word CHANGE. Any change, personal or professional can cause stress, fear and frustration, but I now see it as a chance to discover your strengths, make a difference and enjoy the journey.
Three experiences that influenced my outlook on CHANGE:
Female Hog Buyer
In the early 1990’s, I was one of the first, of two female hog buyers hired by a major marketer of food and meat products, Hormel Foods. My new role created a lot of questions and comments; “You’re a what?”, “What’s a girl doing working in the middle of these hogs?”, “How did you get into this field and why?” I was raised in a family where we all were expected to work hard and do the same chores whether that involved washing dishes inside or helping with pig chores outside. I didn’t realize it made a difference if I was a male or female hog buyer and was going to continue working hard, doing what I enjoyed. I didn’t feel as though I needed to change what others thought about me being in this role but I did prove that I could do the job, wearing bib overalls and a smile.
Be You, Be Honest, Be Humble
This topic has been responsible for major changes in the way we raise livestock today and shaped my outlook on how to assist others in our industry. In the early 2000’s I had the opportunity to listen to Temple Grandin, who is considered the world’s leading expert on welfare of cattle and pigs. She explained how animals think, why they react, how we can reduce their fears during moving and handling and shared ideas for facility design changes which could improve the humane handling of animals. The livestock industry now has in place several programs and audits to ensure livestock are raised and transported humanely. I have been involved in making plant and farm visits to turkey and pork facilities, ensuring those programs were implemented and management changes were made. The word “audit” instills almost as much fear as the word “change” does and people are not thrilled to see you. I found if you are willing to work alongside producers and employees, help them adapt, be a resource and offer training, the negative “change” becomes progress and leads to success.
Be Helpful, Be Empathetic, Be a Leader
We have all heard the saying, “change is good” whether it was your parents trying to persuade you to change by putting mustard on your hot dog or your company is reorganizing your job responsibilities and you can see revisions coming. Change is often associated with uncertainty, negativity and frustration. You can choose to stay in your comfort zone and stick with the status quo or choose to embrace new opportunities and grow personally and professionally. The word choose is key, as you have a choice on how you are going to ride the waves of change. If you stay open to new possibilities, you may see opportunities that allow you to challenge yourself, stretch your goals, learn new skills and achieve more than you ever imagined. I previously mentioned I changed positions which involved going from my “comfort zone” of pork to unfamiliar territory, turkeys. I did not know anything about turkeys, except I preferred white meat to dark meat and knew which part of the body that came from. I found myself asking questions from farm managers and supervisors, riding with company veterinarians and nutritionists and making many visits to hatcheries to understand where it all begins. It was humbling starting out in a new role where I was not 100% confident in what I was doing and I quickly realized this was going to be a challenge. I chose to learn all I possibly could from others, overcome the hurdles in front of me, stay positive and embrace the situation.
Be Determined, Be Enthusiastic, Be Appreciative
I prefer to spell Change as O-P-P-O-R-T-U-N-I-T-Y. Opportunities allow you a chance to gamble, ask “what’s next?”, bring value to your role and attain what you thought was impossible. You will have a much greater chance of achieving success in your personal and professional life if you embrace and enjoy all the opportunities that come your way!
What does it mean to be a Farmher??? This was the question myself and 13 of my Sigma sisters had the chance to answer and explore. On November 7th, we had the wonderful opportunity to travel down to the University of Minnesota to attend “Grow by FarmHer.” This was an awesome event that focused on inspiring, educating, and empowering young women in agriculture. Spending the day surrounded by powerful women in agriculture, who encouraged and uplifted each other is something I will never forget. We heard from great speakers, listened to a panel discussion, and networked with sponsors and professionals in the industry.
The founder and President, Marji Guyler-Alaniz, started FarmHer in 2013 to “shine a light on women in agriculture.” She has gone above and beyond to advocate for women in agriculture and ensure their stories are being heard. Marji has expanded FarmHer from a photography project to nation wide touring events, a clothing market with products that make women feel confident, and a show on RFD-TV that spotlights a different FarmHer each week. You can check out all the amazing work she has done by going to the FarmHer website.
My favorite part of the afternoon was listening to the amazing speakers. Cristen Clark and Carrie Mess, aka Dairy Carrie, were quite the entertainment. Both are FarmHers to the bone and great role models for any women in the agriculture industry.
Cristen Clark is an Iowa pig farmer and champion pie baker. Her presentation on “Things I wish I knew at 20” had me laughing and crying the whole time. She taught us many life lessons, such as trust your gut, roll with changes, if you can read you can cook, carry chap-stick always, cherish your grandparents, and realize how lovely you are and how lovely you have it. Cristen lights up the room with her bubbly personality and I can’t wait until I get to hear her speak again. Check out her blog, Food and Swine, to learn about life on the farm and try some of her prize winning recipes.
Cristen Clark and her daughter ~ Photo credit Food & Swine
Carrie Mess on her family farm ~ Photo credit Growing the Land
Dairy Carrie spoke to us about how to develop our story. Everyone needs to have a 3-5 sentence spiel to introduce themselves and grab peoples attention. Carrie explained to us how to incorporate our passion and style into our story to make it unique. She also emphasized that the people in the room that day are the future of the industry. My favorite part about Carrie is that she doesn’t sugar coat anything when it comes to talking about the Ag industry or on ways to educate consumers. Head over to Dairy Carrie to read some great blog posts such as Sometimes we are Mean to our Cows, What’s really in Milk, or 5 Reasons Farms are getting Bigger.
Events like FarmHer make me excited to be a women in agriculture. We need more Marji’s, Cristnen’s and Carrie’s in the world advocating, inspiring, and leading the way for girls growing up in this industry. Marji ended the day by sharing some of her favorite song lyrics with us, “I might only have 1 match, but I can make an explosion.” These words really stuck out to me and were a great way to cap off the day. I can say I have never walked out of a room feeling more inspired and that I had the ability to make a difference in an industry dominated by men. FarmHer puts on multiple events throughout the year and I would encourage women of all ages to take advantage of any opportunity to attend, you won’t regret it!
Speak up, find your voice and use it. If you don’t say it, no one else will.
The wind like death pushes you, chills you to the bone, frightens you with its howl yet somehow you still end up on your feet. You have a choice. You, you alone must stand and walk on.
This was never the life I expected to live. It especially wasn’t supposed to be one filled with death and sadness. These were the cards I was dealt and now I have to play my hand. To have a better understanding of what I mean, in the past two years I lost not only my father but my close friend Dakota. Both were unexpected, my father passing away in a farming accident and Dakota taking his own life.
Suicide. Depression. They’re not topics that are talked about often or ones that people like to discuss. Mainly because when talking about someone with suicidal thoughts or depression they are looked at as weak, especially if that person is male. Growing up I knew that people can be depressed and that people commit suicide but I never understood why. I always had thought how could one’s life be so bad that they feel the need to end their own life. I was clueless about this all until I lost a very close person in my life Dakota, who committed suicide at the young age of 20. I never saw this coming or even knew he was depressed or going through a hard time, and that was really hard on me and still is. I was very confused and had so many questions that I needed answered. Why would he do this? What was so bad that couldn’t be fixed? Why was he depressed? I finally took it into my own hands to find out more information about depression and suicide, and what better person to go to then my second mother and Dakota’s mom Michelle. After talking with her a couple different times, I felt more educated and had a better understanding about depression and suicide. One main thing I learned was that anxiety plays a big role in a person’s life who is depressed and suicidal. Many people don’t know that depression and anxiety are genetic traits and go hand in hand with one another. It’s like cancer in sense where someone with cancer doesn’t decide or pick to have cancer, there is no explanation besides that they just have it. Unlike cancer, depression doesn’t have the support system and resources to help cure what is happening to that person on the inside.
I still had one major question I needed answered, why do people commit suicide? I learned that people with anxiety and depression struggle with many things, the big one being they are afraid to ask for help and feel inferior about themselves. With Dakota he knew he was struggling and sought to get better and change on his own. Little did anyone know that this is something he had a really hard time doing. He along with other people who go through wanting to get out of the darkness, struggle with the constant battle of there is the chance I could get better then end up back in this dark place. This causes an increase in their anxiety and rather than to keep fighting the battle of depression they kill themselves because they would rather be at peace in heaven than going back to that dark place.
I can’t control the wind but I can adjust the sails. Going forward I want to continue to spread awareness about depression, suicide, and anxiety. I have learned that you can try to help someone going through this, but also remember not everyone wants help or will expect help. Something that we as society can work on to change is to be more expecting and not shun or shame someone with depression or anxiety. Some tips as I go forward that I am going to keep in mind that I hope others keep in mind as well are:
Encourage them to talk openly without the fear of judgement
Don’t be afraid to come out and just ask “Have you thought about killing yourself?”
Be supportive and be patient
If they find something that makes them happy help them seek that