Gateway to Grain Handling Careers


By: Garrett O’Donnel, Agricultural Systems Management | Killbuck, OH

This past February, 12 student leaders from The Ohio State University Agricultural Systems Management Club had the opportunity to attend the annual Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS) Exchange in St. Louis, Missouri. The GEAPS Exchange is the largest conference for grain handling and processing. This was a great opportunity for students to make industry connections, to learn about new and upcoming technologies and practices from across the grain handling industry.

Fellow classmate and friend Ryan Riddle and I planned and organized the logistics for the trip to St. Louis; everything from hotels to rental cars to registration to tour stops. Along the way, we set up tours with Consolidated Grain & Barge (CGB) Enterprises in Jeffersonville, Indiana, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Company and Anheuser Busch Brewing Company in St. Louis, Missouri. The tours really helped students receive a thorough overview of the grain handling industry. For some, this was the first time visiting a barge terminal facility or a facility larger than their local country elevator. Since we were in St. Louis, we also journeyed 630 feet up to the top of the Gateway Arch!

The highlight of the trip for me was the Student Day at the Exchange. We had the opportunity to visit the trade show, meet and interact with grain industry professionals, and industry suppliers in many facets of the industry. We participated in round table discussions with professionals from several major grain companies, where we could ask questions about the industry, learn about internship/career opportunities and network with other student attendees with similar interests. Not only was this a rewarding experience for me but an invaluable experience for all who attended. Eight of the 2015 attendees, including myself, are now pursuing grain handling careers.

In 2016, the GEAPS Exchange is in Austin, Texas and The Ohio State University Agricultural Systems Management Club will be there!

Not All Cows, Sows, and Plows


By: Annabel Skubon, Agronomy  | Medina, OH

My first week at Ohio State ATI, I couldn’t remember a single person’s name. Every time I met someone new, they were introduced by their nickname. Coming from a graduating class of almost 700 students, I thought I was good at putting a name to a face after meeting a person only once. After coming to Ohio State ATI, I realized that you remember people because they left you with an impression worth remembering.

Ohio State ATI is an entirely different world, it incorporates the feeling of both the small-town and big-city America, all in a little village we call Applewood. The cliche saying of “don’t judge a book by its cover” has never been more true. My freshman year, I had three resident advisers, and if you would’ve asked me then I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that one of them would become my best friend. She had purple hair, and was the tiniest person with the biggest personality. The second week of school I finally talked to her in person at a school bonfire. I thought she was one of the strangest people I had ever met and I was nervous to even talk to her, until she tweeted at me and told me I was one of the funniest people she knew. I knew right then we were destined to be friends.

That is exactly how life works sometimes, one day you see someone acting goofy, and the next day you realize you have more in common than anyone you’ve ever met. Why judge someone when you can experience everything that makes them great instead? That purple headed RA has taught me more lessons here and in life than any class I could take.

Ohio State ATI will teach you to step out of your comfort zone. Whether that means breaking down and asking for help, only to find out you had more people there for you than you imagined, or realizing that sometimes people will hurt you, and it’s in those times you find your true strength. It’s not all about cow anatomy and crop health here, although this place will teach you to be the best in agriculture, this school gives you lessons in life. We might be a bunch of down home farm kids, but here, we get to view the world through a lens that maybe people will never understand. This small school in an Amish town will make you grow and become a better person, and you might just be knee deep in cow crap when it happens.

A Day with the Dean

donuts with the dean

By: Craig Berning, Agribusiness and Applied Economics | Anna, OH

As students in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences we are fortunate to have a Dean who loves to interact with students. On November 6th many students had such an opportunity. The morning began with a CFAES Student Council sponsored “Donuts with the Dean”. For an hour and half Dean McPheron gathered and talked with students, staff, and faculty as everyone began their day. Later that evening, students who are members of the CFAES Ambassador Team, MANNRS, and the CFAES Student Council were welcomed to the home of Dean and Mrs. McPheron for a “Dinner with the Dean”. The dinner was an opportunity for students to have personal conversations with Dean McPheron and each other in an informal setting. Toward the end of the evening Dr. McPheron addressed students thanking them for their hard work both in and out of the classroom. It also provided students an opportunity to thank the Dean for his hard work and care for students. CFAES is lucky to have a dean who makes it a priority to interact and get to know students. Thank you Dean McPheron!

Coming Together at Convention

Mary Siekman Blog Picture 1

By: Mary Siekman, Agricultural Communication | Delaware, OH

There are many reasons I look forward to attending the National FFA Convention & Expo each year. I enjoy seeing blue jackets swarm in from all over the country, taking in the energy that floods the convention hall and reconnecting with old friends. But the one thing that makes attending convention each year something I look forward to is simple – the people. It is definitely people who make National FFA Convention great and this year I was lucky to spend it with some pretty great people.

Some of the people I spent most of my time with were members of the CFAES Ambassador Team. Together we spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of Convention working in the Ohio State CFAES booth talking with FFA members as perspective student to our college. Students were able to participate in science experiments and make buckeye key chains (I had to explain what a buckeye was to a student from Georgia…something I never thought I would have to do!). The coolest part about being in the OSU booth was having the opportunity to chat face to face with students from literally all over the country about why I love Ohio State and what our college has to offer students.

Students in our college weren’t only working in the OSU booth, but instead could be found all over Convention. Some of my peers were working at different company’s booths they had previously interned with, facilitating workshops with National FFA, serving as Ohio FFA Officers, receiving their American FFA Degrees, being elected to the National FFA Officer team (yay Sydney!!) or just there to support their friends. Faculty were also present during the week. Dr. Emily Buck was at convention working in the FFA News Room and also received her Honorary American Degree (be sure to tell her congratulations!)

Convention is not only a time to reconnect with old friends, but also to meet new people, too. It was such a great surprise to see Chris Soules, an Iowa farmer who recently starred as the Bachelor on the ABC television show, was at the Monsanto booth! Even though he forgot to bring me a rose I was still so excited to finally meet Prince Farming.

Residence Hall Family

Norton fam

By: Kayla Walls, Agriscience Education | Mendon, OH

Coming to The Ohio State University in Columbus is daunting for anyone—nonetheless being a freshman from small town Ohio. City life was a huge change for me but luckily, I live a building full of kids just like me. Being in the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences Learning Community located in Norton House is such a blessing. You will often walk down the hallway to see open doors and friendly faces to greet you. Not only that, but someone is always up to do things with you—be it playing volleyball, grabbing something to eat, watching the Bengals, or going to Zumba.

With that being said, my favorite part of being a Buckeye is meeting new people and creating new friendships. With a graduating high school class of only ninety-three, everybody knew everybody. It is so nice to come to a new place with a fresh start. I know that the friendships I have made from living in Norton House these past few weeks will last more than the next four years of our college careers, but a lifetime. These friends made Norton my home away from home, and for that I am forever thankful.

Farm Science Review: A View from behind the Camera

sarah j blog

By: Sarah Johnson, Agricultural Communication | Williamsport, OH

Hello! I am Sarah Johnson, a junior studying agricultural communication. My family has been a part of the Farm Science Review for 31 years. We exhibit our Limousin cattle along with landscaping several other companies’ lots. This year along with exhibiting our cattle and being a CFAES Ambassador I got to take on another unique role. I am an Advancement Communications Intern for Matt Marx in the CFAES Development Office and I’ll be the first one to tell you it is an experience you’ll never forget! I absolutely love every aspect of my job as an intern. While at the Review, I had the privilege of interviewing approximately 30 CFAES alumni for video footage that will eventually be published on the CFAES alumni website. It was truly incredible listening to their stories and experiencing their sense of pride. I was mainly in the alumni tent with CFAES Development Office staff, but I also got to move around a lot and find alumni on my own in company tents. I am incredibly thankful to have had this opportunity and I would recommend it to absolutely anyone!

CFAES Hosts 4th Annual Back to School Bash

By: Natalie Miller, Agribusiness and Applied Economics | Washington Courthouse, OH

The Back 2 School Bash, hosted by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), provides a unique opportunity for students to get excited about the school year beginning. For first year, transfer, and transition students, the event allows students to get acquainted with the faculty, clubs, and their classmates within CFAES. For returning students and upper classmen, the evening serves as a way for them to be welcomed back to school.

This year’s Back 2 School Bash (B2SB), drawing nearly 900 people, was hosted at Fred Beekman Park on Thursday, September 10, 2015. The event was home to a host of events, including a kickball tournament, won by the Crops and Soils and the Agricultural Systems Management Clubs, 100-person tug-of-war, and a marshmallow toss, all organized by the Animal Science Community Alliance (ASCA) and the CFAES Student Council. The Saddle and Sirloin and Buckeye Dairy Clubs even sponsored a mechanical bull. With 42 student organizations represented at B2SB’s involvement fair, students were able to see all of the opportunity within CFAES. According to Taylor Kruse, CFAES Student Council President, “The most rewarding part of the Back 2 School Bash is being able to watch everyone laughing and having fun together throughout the night. Plus, the Graeter’s ice cream is a pretty great treat when you’re exhausted after playing kickball.”

Many helping hands are necessary to ensure B2SB is a success. Mariette Benage, ASCA Advisor, said, “We had nearly 100 volunteers, which is literally what it takes to put on the event. Without the support of so many people, we would never be able to have this event.” Of course, lending a helping hand for the benefit of students is enjoyable. “ASCA

works extremely hard to put this event on, so knowing that everyone – students to administrators – enjoys the opportunity to get together as a college and have fun outside the classroom, makes the event rewarding. This is the largest CFAES event of the year, and it’s fun to know that you’re part of something so great,” said Benage.

The B2SB is also gratifying for returning students as they reflect on their time at Ohio State. Katie Frost, a sophomore in animal science, was representing Shades of Animal Sciences, a club she got involved with as a freshman at the B2SB. “I’m really excited for all of the freshmen at this event to find their home at Ohio State,” said Frost. In addition to making students feel at home, B2SB is a phenomenal opportunity for students to develop quality relationships. Tyler Hellwig, a senior in agribusiness and applied economics, said, “It’s a great way to meet people outside of class, get to know each other one-on-one, and start to build great friendships.”

All in all, magnificent memories were made at the Back 2 School Bash as community was built and friendships were made. Additionally, students in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences were left feeling energized and excited about the school year ahead.

For more photos from B2SB, click here.

To learn more about the Animal Science Community Alliance, click here.

For more information about the CFAES Student Council, click here.

Diversified Farming in California


By: Gary Klopfenstein, Sustainable Plant Systems (Agronomy)  |  Haviland, OH

During my Spring break this year I went on an enrichment trip to California to learn more about California’s agricultural industry and issues the state faces. Traveling with my fellow college ambassadors and two advisors the 16 of us was able to see and learn about the strengths and weaknesses of California’s agriculture industry.

During our eight day stay in California, there was one particular tour we went on that really stuck with me. Terranova Ranch, it was a farming operation that farmed over 7,000 acres and produced more than 40 different crops. When Don Cameron the General Manager introduced himself and shared that statistic I was astonished by the complexity of the operation. There are large farmers in Ohio but I have never visited one that grew more than ten different crops at that size. Terranova Ranch grew a wide range of crops from olives, wine grapes, almonds, tomatoes, walnuts, pistachios, to alfalfa. Some were conventional grown but there was also a fare share of acres set aside for organic crops.

Mr. Cameron gave us a tour of his operation and of course we ask him about the water issues. He explained to us about a project he is involved in, and how this project will be able to trap rainwater from the nearby river. His farming operation alone has 52 wells that supply water for his crops. The best way they manage the water is through drip irrigation lines that are 4-6 inches below the soil surface. These lines have increased yield and lowered the amount of water used per acre. Visiting the Terranova Ranch and speaking with Mr. Cameron was fascinating to hear how he is working to conserve water and still produce a quality crop for consumers.

Visiting and touring California was an amazing experience and I love talking to classmates, friends and family about my experience and the knowledge I gain from my trip. After visiting Terranova Ranch and seeing the complexity of managing 40 different crops, and the different management practices between conventional and organic crops. I gained a new appreciation for where my food comes from.


Thank you to the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University for making this trip possible.



It’s New Orleans, Baby!


By: Kayla Starlin, Agribusiness and Applied Economics  |  Logan, OH

Recently, a handful of student ambassadors from the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences had the opportunity to travel to New Orleans, Louisiana for sever days to participate in the Ag Leadership Summit. We were joined by other student ambassadors from Purdue University, and the Universities of Arizona, Florida and Kentucky.

A total of about 30 students spent five days exploring the city and discovering a new culture, partaking in industry tours, and networking with one another. From grain elevators to alligator farms, we were all able to share in the excitement of learning all about Louisiana’s agricultural endeavors.

Students were able to visit a Zen-Noh/CBG facility that loads an average of 280 vessels/year and the capability of storing over 60,000 bushels. From watching a barge be docked for loading, to learning of the thousands of export locations for the products, to visiting the control room and logistics managers, we were exposed to a entire section of the industry that we don’t see without coastal land!

Spending time with a representative from Dow Agrosciences was another huge component of the trip. Dow took a large amount of time to spend with our ambassadors in educating them on what Dow does as a company, its business strategies, as well as sharing valuable advice on how to obtain a job within the industry and what they are looking for specifically in their hires. Both companies seek out CFAES students for internship and career positions!

Not only were we able to learn from our tours and visits, but we were able to spend five days making connections and friends from across the nation. As ambassadors for each of our respective schools, we took time to share ideas with one another about programs, events, and other opportunities that could be brought back and implemented into our own college.

Clementines and Mandarins and Sunshine…Oh My!

Veronica Chalfin Blog Picture

By: Veronica Chalfin, AgriScience Education  |  Genoa, OH

Over spring break this year, several college ambassadors had the awesome opportunity to travel to California for the week. Our trip was all about learning how the agriculture industry in California works in comparison to the industry we all know and love in Ohio. We visited many different farms, organizations, and companies during our time in California. We started in Sacramento and traveled a little over 1,000 miles south of there ending up in Los Angeles. One of our stops along the way was a citrus processing and packing facility, Fowler Packing, located in Fresno, California. Fowler Packing was started in 1950 and is a family owned business. Today they are one of the largest shippers in the fresh produce business. They handle over 15 million boxes of citrus per year and they own and farm two thirds of their own fruit. The facility that we visited while we were there was where they processed and packaged Halos, their brand of seedless and easy-to-peel mandarins and clementines. We were able to walk through the entire plant and see how the mandarins go from freshly picked through the process to be ready to package. There obviously isn’t a lot of citrus farming going on in Ohio, so it was a very interesting experience to see the way that industry works. The entire trip was a great learning experience and I’m extremely grateful that I was given this awesome opportunity. But for Ohio State…I would have never been able to take such an affordable, fun, and informative trip. Go bucks!