More Than A Dream

Growing up around agriculture, you tend not to think about it too much. You know that the fence is not going to mend itself and there is no way you are eating dinner before the animals are fed, but you don’t stop and think about how it makes you feel or what it took to get to where you are today.

When I was a little girl, my great grandfather used to tell me this story; the story of how he acquired our family ranch. I would sit down cross legged on the floor and stare up at him with wonder in my eyes and desire burning in my heart because I wanted nothing more than to feel the passion and love that he did, not only for the land, but for agriculture itself. He used to ask me, “Alli, look out the window, what do you see?” Back then all I saw was pasture, fence posts, and horses, but now, it is so much more than that.

Like most typical adolescents, I went through this phase where I wanted nothing to do with the life I was being brought up in and didn’t understand why I couldn’t just be like a “normal” kid where the only care was what movie they would be seeing that Friday night. I didn’t understand why my parents pushed me to be involved not only in my academics, but through sports and 4-H as well. Quite frankly, I saw no point in preparing a livestock demonstration and I had no idea why it was so important for me to partake in livestock judging if all I was going to do was poke the sheep with my pencil to see which one I thought was the fluffiest. Now don’t get me wrong, I have always loved animals, but constantly caring for them was not always my cup of tea. Then, somewhere around middle school age something clicked inside of me. Whether it was me remembering the words of my great grandfather or finally coming to my senses I can’t say, but what I do know is that to me, agriculture was different.

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Now here I am, a junior in college, pursuing a degree in Veterinary Technology. Although I am not constantly home on the ranch anymore, our ranch is still very much alive inside of me. Just ask my friends. Chances are, they will tell you that I get more excited over spending time with cattle than I do with people and that if I was given the chance, I would gladly put on my chore clothes and go spend time out in the barn.

It is funny how life changes us. If my great grandfather was still here today and he said to me “Alli, look out the window, what do you see?” I would tell him that I see hard work, dedication, and love. I would tell him that I am so thankful he pursued his dream of owning a ranch and that I now get to call it home. I would tell him that I am so grateful for the way he cared for the land and his animals and that that work ethic was passed down to me. I would tell him that never in a million years would I trade the way I was raised and live today for anything in the world.

For me, agriculture is, and will always be a part of who I am, because to me it is more than cowboy boots and tore up jeans. Agriculture isn’t just a way of life, it is a state of being.

In Sisterhood,

Allison

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Allison Beard – Vet Technology

Quit Planning and Start Living

Now that I am almost finished with my Vet Tech program, and having only one semester in the fall left, I have to ask myself “now what? What does the future hold for me? What is my plan?” Ever since high school, I’ve always had to plan for my classes, lay out all my schedules to make sure everything went right in order to graduate. I always felt like I had to have a plan in place for every situation because that’s what I grew up knowing. Well life threw me the first curve-ball in May just before my senior year of high school. Long story short, I was told that I wouldn’t graduate on time with my class and that I couldn’t take early college classes like several of my classmates could. It was after the 3rd meeting with the counselor where I walked out of the office that I realized that all my plans had fallen apart, that I was told I wasn’t capable of doing something and it hit me hard. For the first time, I didn’t have a plan and honestly, it scared me.

Fast forward to the middle of July. I was in Virginia with my aunt and uncle when I came across an online high school program based out of Fargo. I did some research and then took a chance and applied. Not only did I graduate on time, but I also was able to get a head start on college classes. I was able to prove to those who said I couldn’t that I could.

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Now enter college at Williston State, where life again threw me more curve-balls in the form of 4 different ad visors and the college doing away with the Ag department (crazy I know, right!). Again, my planning was thrown out with all the changes and I had to start from square one. I compensated the Ag classes by taking them through Dickinson State and completed 2 associates from WSC at the same time. Though I again had to re-plan everything.

Another fast forward to NDSU. These last 3 years (yes, I will have 5 and a half years of college. Way too long right?) have been nothing but chaos for me. All the planning for the Vet Tech program and planning if I didn’t get accepted into it. Having to go through so many forms and people telling me that I won’t be able to graduate with 2 bachelors and 2 minors and so many class changes, I almost gave up on everything. What is the point of having our professors tell us to plan for all of our semesters when everything changes and they can’t do much to help us except to tell us to re-plan everything out again? I’d like to know the answer myself.

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I’m sure you’re wondering where I am going with this. While I have been planning out my summer externship and what I will be doing after I graduate, I have come to realize that no matter how many times you may plan out your life, something is going to come along and cause a road block or detour from all that planning you have done. And guess what, there isn’t anything you can do about it except go along with the ride.

I can think back on so many occasions where I thought I knew how my life was going to go, like last summer when I thought I would be traveling for an externship but instead I was home working all summer. But there is nothing wrong with that. I’m now starting to realize that I don’t need to plan out everything. I’ve wasted so much time trying to figure out my life that I’ve already missed so many opportunities. Opportunities that would have been both bad and good. I’ve pushed away some friends in the process and I am so thankful for the ones that have stuck it out with me. If it weren’t for the friends that I have made at NDSU, I don’t know where I would be now. They have shown me that it’s ok to not know your future. That’s the fun part about it all, the adventure, finding yourself, etc.!

So do I know what I will be doing after college? Not a single clue. Sure I have some ideas, but that’s just what they are. I’ll see how they pan out, but for now, I’m focusing on my last few weeks of this semester and getting ready for my externship and just seeing where life takes me this time. So in the end, quit planning and start living.

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I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from Lewis Carroll, “IN THE END… We only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.”

In Sisterhood,

Katie

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Katie Sperling – Animal Science and Veterinary Technology

Cheers to 50 Years!

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the 50th Anniversary celebration of Huston Engineering, the company that my boyfriend, Carl Entize, works for.

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I’ve always been very impressed by the way that Huston treats their employees. From Office Christmas parties to chili cook offs and cubical decoration contests, they really strive to make their employees enjoy coming to work and feeling appreciated.

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During the celebration, the CEO said that we have our personal lives on one side, and our private lives on the other. If we are happy and appreciated in our private life, and at work, we do better work. I truly believe in that statement. As people, we need to be treated kindly by the those we see every day.

Sigma Alpha is creating women that will soon be leaders within Agriculture. I hope every sister will keep this message in mind, and always remember to treat their coworkers, employees, and every single person they meet, with kindness, compassion, and respect.

“Leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” ~John Maxwell

Cheer’s to 50 Years, Huston! Thank you for the amazing night and empowering message!

In Sisterhood,

Yssi

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Yssi Cronquist – Animal Science

 

Growing Up on the Harvest Run

When I was four years old my parents started custom harvesting. In the middle of May, they packed  my four-month-old sister and I up in a pickup with an RV and drove all the way down to Texas. From Texas, we would work our way back up to North Dakota and sometimes into Canada. I spent my childhood on the road, in combines or semis, and living in a camper all summer, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

In Texas, I learned how to ride a bike, made “sculptures” out of the red mud after it finally rained, ate some of the best BBQ in the world, experienced cotton farming, and saw the longhorns and wild hogs that roamed the country side. The locals always joked that us northerners always brought the bad weather, and I spent nights in the storm shelter when hail storms or tornadoes were rolling through. Texas is where I also first saw how farmers can utilize terraces for water control in their fields.

After about a month in Texas we would move to the Oklahoma panhandle.

The Oklahoma panhandle was always hot and dry. We would set up lawn chairs right next to the pickups to try and hide from the sun in the sliver of shade while eating supper in the field. Our stop here wasn’t very long, but sometimes we would be there for the Fourth of July. Taking part in the local celebrations was always memorable with events like turtle races.

After this we went to Kansas.

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Kansas has the flattest land I’ve ever seen. Here we would combine right underneath wind turbines. This is the first place I ever saw irrigation and pivots. We were usually here for the Fourth of July and would find a nice spot to sit on the tail gate to watch the fireworks. When we ate supper in the field here, we’d have to hold down our plates from the wind and it wasn’t unusual to have a little chaff and dust in the food. We’d also go to Dodge City to check out the museums and learn about the cowboys.

Next, we’d go to Nebraska.

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Nebraska is a wetter state than most on the harvest run. This also means it’s more humid. Here I played on a seven-hole golf course, and we’d stay at the campground by the first Cabela’s in Sidney, NE. At another stop we would see tons of fireflies light up the campground at night and would have to go down these crazy gravel roads to get to the fields. Sometimes if we were lucky it would rain, and we’d be just in time to go to the local county fair.

We always skipped South Dakota, but occasionally on the way north we’d make a quick stop to see Mount Rushmore and then we’d be on our way to North Dakota.

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When we got back to North Dakota, we stayed at a variety of campgrounds over the years but always near Bismarck. We’d start cutting wheat in July and end cutting corn in December with a variety of crops in between. Mom, my sister, and I would head back home to start school in August, and my dad would stay with the crew to finish harvest.

When I was young I would just help bring out food for the crew for supper, but as I got older I began to do more and eventually ran equipment. I’ve never had a typical summer, I’ve never been to a lake or went on summer vacation but can’t imagine a childhood with the harvest run.

 

In Sisterhood,

Morgan

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Morgan Gallagher – Biotechnology

Recipes from Grandma’s Kitchen

As Easter fast approaches and the world seems to unthaw and become fresh, I can’t help to think of all the happy memories I hold. One of those memories are the days I would spend at my grandparents’ house. With my grandpa out in the field I would spend days with my mom and grandma in the house. Being young I didn’t always enjoy the trip to go visit, as it seemed that they would talk for hours, and I would have nothing to do but help plant flowers, clean and watch them cook. But now I would do anything to go back and spend a day just like that, with my grandma by my side.

Raising eleven kids and supporting a farming husband was not an easy job, and is one thing that I will always admire her for. Just like many grandma’s mine was known for her cooking, which was perfected by the countless number of meals she had to prepare. The recipes that she shared will always be something that I hold onto and treasure. Scribed in her beautiful handwriting (which she elaborated came from many days of patiently learning in country school), they often earn a spot on my favorite recipes list. Best known for her potato salad and always having a sweet treat on hand, I decided to share a few of her recipes with you.

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Dream Bars

1 stick margarine

½ Cup Brown Sugar

1 Cup Flour

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2 Eggs

1 Cup Brown Sugar

½ tsp. Salt

2 Tbsp flour

½ tsp. Baking Powder

1 Cup Coconut

½ Cup Chopped Walnuts

 

Mix first 3 ingredients, pat in 9×13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees until light brown. Mix remaining ingredients and put on top of bottom mixture. Bake until brown, about 25 minutes.

 

Salad Dressing

1 qt. Miracle Whip Salad Dressing

1 pt. Coleslaw Dressing

½ pt. Whipping Cream

¼ Cup Prepared Mustard

½ Cup Sugar

1 tsp. celery seed

1 tsp. pepper

1 ½ tsp. salt

 

Mix well with electric mixer. Put into quart or pint jars and keep refrigerated. Good for potato salad, macaroni, tuna or crab salad, and for coleslaw.

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Although I was too young to really get to help my grandma make her favorite recipes I am glad that I have them to share with you.

 

In Sisterhood,

Sarah

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Sarah Wendt – Ag Education

Spring Break Tips

Every college student has two favorite words, Spring Break. Each year we return for the new semester with our calendars marked with that one very special week in March. This year, myself and six other Sigma Alphas took a road trip to Orlando, Florida. It was the trip of a lifetime but also taught me some important lessons.

1. Travel – HIGHLY RECOMMEND FLYING! I love flying so spending the extra money to catch a flight to your spring break destination is the way to go in my opinion. You can get to your location quicker and might even be able to stay a day or two longer. We decided to pack 7 girls in a Suburban for 25 hours, not the ideal situation. If you do choose to drive, turn it into a fun road trip! We spent one night in Nashville to break up the drive and it was a blast. We walked around downtown and had supper at Wildhorse Saloon. It was a great way to start the trip and really helped to break up the drive.

2. Wear Sunscreen – As much as you want that sun kissed glow, don’t let the sun ruin your vacation on the very first day. Nobody wants to be a lobster, you have all week to get your tan on. REAPPLY, REAPPLY, REAPPLY!

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3. Do something unique to the location – We decided to venture to Daytona Beach on our last day in Florida to para-sail. It was a bit chilly and a little windy, but overall a great time! A few in our group were nervous about the flight or getting dipped in the ocean on the way down, but ask any of us now and we would definitely say it was one of the highlights of the trip.

4. Don’t be afraid to spend your money – you are only on vacation for a few days, make the most of it! Vacations can be expensive, but there are ways to save money, so you have a little extra to spend it on fun activities. We saved money by making breakfast and other meals at our condo, and only eating out once a day. This gave of us extra funds to do fun things, like parasailing, going to a theme park and venturing out to downtown Orlando.

5. Most importantly, GO WITH YOUR BESTIES!!! – This spring break was a trip of a lifetime. There are only a few number of years in your life when you will get the chance to go on a vacation with your best friends and have zero responsibilities, take the opportunity! Whether you travel near, far, warm, or cold, the memories and pictures will be cherished forever!

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In sisterhood,
Shelby

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Shelby Hartwig is a junior majoring in Agriculture Economics and minoring in Animal Science. She currently serves as the Sigma Alpha Treasurer.

Break Their Mold

There is a saying “break the mold.” This means you should be yourself and break away from the mainstream crowd. You shouldn’t try to compromise your morals and beliefs to be like everyone else. Too often though, we end up trying to fit into what other people perceive of us. The world is not always kind, too often at a younger age we are told that we will amount to nothing, we won’t be successful, we are too young to make a difference, and some thoughts are even darker.

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It is hard to break away from those labels and stereotypes. Often, we let them control us and limit our belief in our capabilities. The only person that should influence what you can do is you. The opinions of others are just that, opinions. So don’t try to fit into the mold that others have created for you. You will never be satisfied trying to please everyone else, so take the time to truly evaluate who you are, what you are capable of, and where you want to go in life. Break the mold they created for you, live your life for yourself, and never look back.

In Sisterhood,

Amelia

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Amelia Nichols – Microbiology and Equine Science