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Distinguished Junior Member Mandy Brazil

Dairying is much more than a profession; it is a life- style. Growing up around the dairy industry, in the number one dairy state, has been a driving force in developing who I have be- come today. I have learned dedication, responsibility, and leadership skills. My childhood has been filled with early mornings feed- ing calves, late nights wait- ing for a cow to calve, and

explanations to my math teacher of why I am late, once again, due to the cows getting out. Moreover, I have learned that milk truck drivers never fail to run over bikes if left out! I have experienced the challenges and discomforts; yet am always experiencing the joys that can only be found in this industry. The dairy industry has many hidden benefits and opportunities that have positively impacted nearly every as- pect of my life. The foster mother of the human race has truly been embroidered onto my heart!

I take pride in being involved in an industry so rich in op- portunity. Youth organizations, such as 4-H, FFA, and the California Junior Holstein Association, foster leadership characteristics and teach valuable life lessons that will serve tomorrow’s industry leaders well. These organizations have broadened my outlook on life, as well as helping to give me direction for the future. If not for the leadership training, once in a life time opportunities, and resounding support, and I would not have believed that an eighteen year old, small town girl would achieve anything other than ordinary. Organizations like Junior Holstein Association and FFA have shown me that any one person is capable of making differ- ence. Anybody who has the dedication and drive to achieve their goal has the potential to exert a positive influence on the lives around them or the industry they represent. I strive to become that person. I want to be remembered as some- one who helped to strengthen America’s dairy industry for future generations.

My background in the dairy cattle industry has played a large role in directing my future goals. Although I have al- ways known that I want to remain involved in the reward- ing lifestyle of agriculture, my passion for dairy cattle has inspired me to become an advocate for the industry that I love. I am planning to enter into the field of agriculture communications. I would either like to work in public rela- tions or in public policy. Either way, I hope to create posi- tive change for the dairy industry. My ideal career would be working for an organization that is dedicated to preserving our dairy industry for many generations to come; possibly

46 California Holstein News Annual 2010

a representative for the California Milk Advisory Board or Western United Dairymen. Working towards this goal, I am attending California Polytechnic State University, in beauti- ful San Luis Obispo. I am majoring in Agriculture Commu- nications with a concentration in agriculture supplies and services. I have also declared a minor in Dairy Science.

I would not have these plans or have the inspiration to achieve these goals if I had not grown up with the dairy industry. Growing up in and around the dairy industry, I learned early in life the hardships and challenges that will undoubtedly be found living and working on a farm. I live with my parents and two brothers on a beef cattle ranch. My brothers and I help to manage the beef ranch, doing every- thing from feeding and vaccinating to records and mainte- nance. I am lucky enough to be able to keep my heifers and dry cows at our ranch. My grandparents have a registered Holstein dairy, about fifteen miles away, that I try to stay involved in. They are generous enough to let me keep my lactating cows and bulls on the dairy.

I always enjoyed spending time on the dairy. I loved to help feed the calves. My favorite part was just riding around the dairy with my Papa in his truck checking the cows. Of course, after we made sure that all the cows had been fed properly and the hay shipment had come in correctly, we would have to take a drive around the hill to check for deer. However, my real involvement with the dairy industry started when I was eight years old.

I had been watching my cousins showing their cows at county fairs for several years. I absolutely could not wait until it was my turn to wear those cool looking white pants and 4-H hat! So, I joined the Two Rock 4-H Club when I was eight and became a proud “special junior” exhibitor at the county fairs.

My grandparents gave me my first registered Holstein to show at the county fairs. I got to pick her out of a group of December calves. Of course, I took quite a while to do this, because I had to make sure that I picked the very best one! I first narrowed down the group to three calves. He then sug- gested that I write down the numbers of the calves and head into the office. In the office, we looked at pedigrees, the sire, and the dam’s performance. Although that part of the after- noon was a little boring, learning how to read records is an invaluable tool in dairy management.

In the end, I picked Moreda-Laguna Sam Lead Abby from the group of calves. Not only was this small calf special in that she was adorable, she was also the foundation of my registered Holstein herd. Her sire was one of my grandpar- ents own herd bulls and her dam produced over 30,000 lbs in one lactation as a two year old. I had a lot of fun with this

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