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!

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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!

The Mighty Mustangs of Cal Poly

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By: Brooke Rieke Schanowski, Agricultural Communication | Wheaton, Illinois

“I’m hot. I’m dirty. I farm.”

Dr. Scott Vernon handed us a sticker with these words when we entered the central agriculture building.

“As people in agriculture, we need to make people listen. The only way to do so, is with bold marketing,” said Dr. Vernon.

Our college’s Ambassador Team went on an enrichment trip to California during Spring Break of 2015. On one of our last days of the trip, our team went to visit California Polytechnic State University. Here, we met with Cal-Poly’s ambassador team and various faculty members.

Our first encounter was with Dr. Scott Vernon. In a teambuilding activity, Dr. Vernon had us stack around 13 nails onto a single nail. Through creativity, communication, and patience, members of our ambassador team figured out how to stack all 13 nails onto a single nail.

After completing this task, Dr. Vernon congratulated the members who figured out the task. He used this assignment to talk about Cal Poly.

“Cal Poly takes pride in our philosophy of ‘Learn-By-Doing’. Like you witnessed in the nail activity, it can be difficult at times to figure out where to start. But, with leadership and teamwork as I saw with all of you today, anyone can solve the most challenging problems.”

With that, Dr. Vernon turned it over to Dr. Richard Cavaletto, the associate dean of the college. Dr. Cavaletto talked with us about the various facts of Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.

After our meeting with Dr. Vernon and Dr. Cavaletto, Cal Poly’s “Ag” Ambassadors gave us a tour of their campus. With the luxury of living in the warm area of California, we were able to walk through the dairy farm, horse stables and other animal areas.

Beauty and fascination could describe Cal Poly’s campus; it was absolutely breath taking. You couldn’t help but stare off into the horizon at the mountains that housed multiple horse trails.

If there is one thing our Ambassador Team took away from visiting Cal Poly was their philosophy. Our team hopes to envelop the ‘Learn-By-Doing’ philosophy so that we can better not only our college, but truly acquire the knowledge needed for our future careers.

Thank you again to Dr. Cavaletto, Dr. Vernon, and Cal Poly’s Ag Ambassador Team!


OSU Agribusiness Club Trip ‘14


By: John Bolte, Agribusiness and Applied Economics | Tiffin, OH

The Ohio State University Agribusiness Club closed 2014 in an exciting fashion. On the Club’s annual trip, 23 members and the Club’s advisor, Barry Ward, traveled to Louisiana from December 17th to December 22nd. The club was lucky enough to receive many generous donations from Agribusinesses around the state of Ohio and a couple of Alumni who made the trip affordable to anyone who wished to experience agriculture down in the Bayou.

On the first day of the trip, Students traveled the Conrad Rice Mill as well as Avery Island to the Tabasco Bottling Plant. But the students would tell you that the most enjoyable stop of the day was the Lafourche Sugar Refinery. While at the sugar refinery, students learned about what is involved with producing (domino) sugar. The manager of the Refinery, Greg Nolan, provided a full, in-depth, tour of the facility from the moment that the sugar cane gets weighed in, until the three grades of sugar are separated and all that is left is a bi-product known as bagasse. Nolan explained how the Mill controls the rate at which the Cane is harvested along with how the Mill is “waste free” and actually uses the bagasse to not only provide its own electricity, but also much of the surrounding area using steam power.

The second day of the trip followed the educational patterns of the first day. The students traveled to Darrow, Louisiana to Zen-Noh-Grain Corporation. The facilities at Zen-Noh-Grain had the ability to load two million bushels an hour which is unlike anything experienced in Ohio. After the tour, CGB and Zen-Noh treated the students to a true Cajun lunch at the Houmas House. Following the plantation house, the group traveled to Baton Rouge, to the Louisiana State University Aquatic Research Center and the LSU Botanical Gardens to see the facilities and learn more about research at LSU.

The next day, the group traveled to Blue Harvest Farms, an eight acre blueberry farm with a future in Agri-tourism. The owner of the farm, Chris, explained to the students his dreams for the future along with many of the business and financial struggles that he has faced since starting his farm. The next stop, allowed the students to get up close and personal with alligators. At Insta Gator, the group learned about what these ranches have to do in order to obtain their alligators and of course, the students were all able to hold baby gators. The third day concluded with a local seafood cuisine followed by the Nutcracker, as a cultural experience.

Student’s final day in Louisiana was spent exploring the famous city of New Orleans. The group saw much of the town including the French Quarter, the World War Two Museum, Café Du Monde, St. Louis Cathedral, and many local shops and restaurants.

Altogether, the trip was extremely educational as well as entertaining. The students enjoyed experiencing the differences in agriculture in the south and networking with potential future employers. The “southern hospitality” was very evident and the Agribusiness Club is very thankful for all of the support and the opportunity to experience Louisiana.

The Internship of a Lifetime


By: Rachel Fladung, Animal Sciences | Hamilton, OH

The summer of 2014 was a summer I will never forget, and I would not have had such a wonderful experience without The Ohio State University. I heard of an internship with Peterson & Smith Equine Hospital through a friend at OSU, which began this opportunity of a lifetime. After applying and being accepted as a summer intern, I began planning for a summer living in Ocala, Florida, working 80 hours a week with horses- life couldn’t be any better, and I was ready for the challenges ahead.

I love horses- I have been involved in riding and the horse industry for almost 16 years, yet I questioned if I was able to work with horses professionally while also having my own horse as a therapeutic escape. Luckily, I was able to not only work at an equine reproductive facility, I was also able to see my own horse throughout the week and continue riding. This gave me the ability to see if I would enjoy horses as a job and as a therapy, and I learned so much about myself throughout this journey.

May through August. 6 days a week. 80+ hour work weeks. Night Shifts. On calls. Stallions, Mares, Geldings, foals, people, clients, coworkers, best friends, amazing memories. This is how my life was, waking up at 5:30 am to clean stalls, restock barns, feed, hay, and water. Watching the sunrise every morning, feeling the hot summer heat and sweat of hard work, and being around the animals that I love most while learning new things every day is what made me love this summer so much. While working, we would sing current pop hits, dance in the barn aisles before moving pregnant mares down to the trailers there to pick them up, help with mare checks and stallion collections, and handle the newborn and older foals that needed to be halter trained. We would yell throughout the single wide extra long trailer that 8 girls shared together at 3 am because a baby was coming within the next few minutes from one of the mares; we then would wake up at 5:30 in the morning to our poptarts and yet another day at work. Our rewards were Thursday donuts and going to the beach on Sundays when we finished work early, along with the countless hours spent talking to each other, the veterinarians, and breeding specialists for whom we worked.

I learned so much from this reproduction center that I now have an interest in Reproductive Physiology, and can correlate what I am learning in class to what I saw this summer; I learned that having my own horse and working with horses professionally is perfect for me, and that I appreciate my own horse more in that atmosphere. Gaining mentors and friends that I still talk to, people I can rely on if I ever needed them, and an experience that pre-vet students almost never get was incredible, and I would have never known about it had it not been for Ohio State. I am so thankful for everything I gained from this summer, and an internship not only teaches you about what you want to do professionally, but about what type of person you are, how you work best, and how to be confident in what you know you can do well. This internship with Peterson & Smith Equine Reproduction Center was the best thing I have ever done, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Study Abroad Programs Define My Ohio State Experience


By: David Minich, Animal Sciences | Cincinnati, OH

Before coming to The Ohio State University, my scope of the world ventured no further than my own travels in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.  However, all of that changed during my first quarter here at Ohio State when I had the opportunity to travel to Ecuador on one of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences’ study abroad programs.

During my freshman year trip to Ecuador, we toured numerous farms, learning about sustainability and the culture of the country.  With just 18 first-year students in the group, we all quickly became good friends.  Some of my best friends today are those who traveled with me on this study abroad program, and it is something we still talk about years later.  My first international experience initially seemed very overwhelming – I had to get my passport, attempt to brush up on my Spanish language skills, and prepare for my first trip out of the country, but when I returned home, I knew immediately that I wanted to participate in another study abroad program and travel abroad again.

In December of my sophomore year, I was fortunate enough to be able to once again go abroad, traveling to Ireland for 11 days studying human and animal interactions.  This was another incredible experience learning about the culture and society in Ireland while also having numerous opportunities to compare and contrast the use of animals and land in Ireland and the United States.  A few of the more memorable experiences of this program were visiting the Cliffs of Moher as well as taking a behind-the-scenes tour of the Dublin Zoo.

Finally, after my junior year, I was extremely lucky to be chosen as one of the first students to participate in a new study abroad program focusing on exotic animal behavior and welfare in South Africa.  As an animal sciences major who hopes to one day work with exotic animals as a veterinarian, I could not think of a better program to fit my interests, round out my animal sciences career at Ohio State, and fulfill one of my biggest dreams – traveling to Africa!  Every single day of this 17 day program was filled with surprises.  From observing wild animals in their natural habitat and witnessing amazing moments, such as a herd of nearly sixty elephants crossing a river, to learning about the problems these animals are facing as human populations and wildlife increasingly interact, this program provided a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget and will always be able to reference during my future career.

After participating in three study abroad programs held on three different continents, I can confidently say that study abroad has not only defined my time here at Ohio State and in CFAES, but it has also changed my life for the better.  I encourage any students who are interested in study abroad to do so and to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity!

My AFA Leaders Conference Experience


By: Jordan Bonham, Agricultural Communication | Washington Court House, OH

If there are two things I love about the age I am at now, it would have to be the ability to easily travel and the limitless opportunities to grow professionally. Lucky enough for me, I found a way to combine these.

During my first year at Ohio State, I discovered Agriculture Future of America whose mission is to create partnerships that identify, encourage and support outstanding college men and women preparing for careers in the agriculture and food industry. AFA is located in Kansas City, Missouri and just so happens to hold an annual Leaders Conference in November. An opportunity to travel and an opportunity to better myself; exactly what I was looking for!

There were 22 students from Ohio State present at this year’s Leaders Conference.  Leaders Conference bridges the gap between academic, leadership and work experiences while helping students understand the impact of their decisions. The conference also assists students in developing personal and professional skills necessary for lifelong success and gives students the opportunity to network with peers and leaders in the agriculture industry.

There’s a reason it is called Leaders Conference and not a leadership conference. Conference delegates are chosen through a competitive application process and AFA believes that delegates selected for conference are already leaders; so why do they need more leadership training? Leaders Conference assists in the development of delegate’s soft skills and acknowledges an industry perspective.

“AFA Leaders Conference is truly a catalyst for young leaders wishing to grow our industry for generations to come,” says Meghan Bennett, third year attendee. “As a student, I have gained both perspective and insight into our industry through this program and I am very excited to continue my involvement with this great organization.”

I highly encourage students to take a look at AFA and all of the programs they provide! You can learn more at www.agfuture.org.


Spreading the Love for Ohio State, One Student at a Time

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By: Molly Roup, Agricultural Engineering | Medina, OH

Perhaps one of the most daunting decisions one faces as a young adult is which college to attend, and yet it’s a decision I was able to make with ease. After moving to the Buckeye State in 2006, I quickly found myself caught up in the hype. So when it came time for me to decide what college I should attend, I was thrilled when I was accepted into Ohio State, and whole-heartedly accepted with only one fear in mind: with as many opportunities as Ohio State has to offer, how will I know which one is for me? That answer came to me through my choice of major and the chance to be on the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Ambassador Team, and what that chance has come to mean to me has made my experience within this College invaluable.

Before discovering my major within CFAES at Ohio State, I had had serious doubts about what careers and passions I should pursue. Without CFAES, I would have never known that Agricultural Engineering was a major, let alone that it would be the perfect major for me. It is a major that has allowed me to apply my problem solving skills to something I care about, working with the technologies behind sustainable food production, and through it I have found my own career path and made life-long friends. It is getting to share these experiences within prospective students as a CFAES Ambassador that has also allowed me to find my place at Ohio State. As someone who has been in these students’ place, trying to figure out which part of Ohio State will truly become their home, I have absolutely loved getting the chance to show them everything that the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences has to offer. Whether it’s the academics, student organizations, or just a home away from home, this College is unlike any other, and has truly enhanced my years as a Buckeye.

With that said, I hope anyone reading this can take some time to reflect on why you love being or Buckeye, or why you might want to be a Buckeye someday. It’s become so nice to be able to call Columbus home, and even more so the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.


Did I miss the memo?



By: Stacie Seger, Agricultural Communication | Fort Loramie, OH

There is so much information that we learn during our first couple weeks of college. Building locations, bus routes and my student ID number are just a few of the main things that I remember learning, sometimes that hard way, during my first year of college. (If you missed the student ID number memo, it’s the nine-digit number on your BuckID!)

As I sadly see my graduation on the horizon, I reflect and laugh about a couple things I wish I learned earlier in my college career. Here is a quick list of memos I think every student needs to make his or her time at Ohio State even better.

  • “Find People” function on the OSU website

“Find People” is an Ohio State search engine located on the top right-hand corner of the Ohio State website. This site will allow you to search for important information about anyone associated with Ohio State. Dot numbers, office locations and affiliation are only a search away for any student, staff or faculty member.

  • Shop around for text books

Although campus bookstores are great resources, they aren’t the only place to buy a textbook. Check online or ask an older student if he or she still has a book you need. It’s also a great idea to ask the instructor if you need to buy the latest version of the book. Sometimes there aren’t too many differences between versions and you can save a lot of money by buying an older book.

  • Go to office hours

All instructors are required to hold office hours. Stop in and say hi before you become too lost in the information. Instructors like to get to know their students and will be more than happy to help you if they know you are putting in the effort to learn. Don’t be “that student” that goes to office hours right before the final and pleads to have the instructor reteach everything.

  • Online library

I use to search for information on Google Scholar and then would become frustrated when the site would ask me to pay for the article I wanted to read. Ohio State’s library.osu.edu solves this “pay to preview” problem by allowing all students special privileges to view scholarly articles by logging in with your name and dot number.

  • Invest in yourself with experiences

You are currently surrounded by an unbelievable number of opportunities. Take the time to explore and maybe even step out of your comfort zone. I can promise you that you won’t regret it! Attend a free OUAB event, study abroad, try out a new restaurant, join a student organization, take a new path to class – each opportunity will add to your personal bank account of who you are. It’s an investment that will only grow!