Hi, my name is Kelly and I am the new intern on the ranch. I will be a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the fall and I am studying soil and land management. I am from Colby which is in central Wisconsin. When describing how its spelled we like to tell people its “like the cheese”. I decided to intern on the ranch because I want to learn more about grazing systems and my school doesn’t offer any classes in that area. So I figured hands on experience would be the best way to gain more knowledge about grazing cattle.
I grew up on a 45 cow dairy farm which sparked my interest in natural resources. Initially I was a forestry major but decided that I would rather plant more trees than to tell people to cut theirs. That led me to becoming a soils major because it was the best major option at my school that would allow me to get a job in agriculture, which is what I realized I wanted to do after a year of being away from the farm while I was at college.
I have been a student trainee with the Iowa NRCS the past two summers, and I really enjoyed it. I especially liked surveying and going out with the soil scientist. I would love to be able to be a grazing specialist which is why I came to the ranch. I am hoping to gain experience that I couldn’t gain from a classroom.
My trip here was uneventful until I turned on the first gravel road. This particular road was a little light on the gravel and they had just gotten rain the night before. About four miles into it I got stuck and had to call for help. But I didn’t have any cell signal where I got stuck so I was going to try walking the remaining 4.5 miles to the ranch. Luckily for me once I climbed to the top of the hill I gained service and got a hold of Luke who told me that no one was home so I would have to wait a while before someone came to get me. While I was waiting I looked over the hill and saw a sign that said “Minimum Maintenance, Travel at Your Own Risk”. Why wasn’t that posted at the other end of the road? But I got pulled out and everything turned out just fine.
This week has been full of firsts for me. I cleaned and oiled my first saddle, built and took down my first movable fence (which was pretty crooked but Luke was nice enough not to mention it too much), gave vaccines to the calves when we worked cattle, helped sort cows (which is harder than it looks), learned to drive the lawn mower and skid steer, and fished with a bamboo pole and caught two small bluegills. Every day is a new learning experience, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the summer being the same way.