Though the members of Kansas State’s Dairy Science Club come from different backgrounds, the dairy industry connects their shared passions.
Laura Geven, senior in animal sciences and industry and president of the Dairy Science Club, got involved with the club her freshman year, but her dairy passion started long before that. Her family, who moved from Denmark, runs a dairy operation in Syracuse, Kansas with approximately 8,500 Holstein cows.
Geven said the club gives members the opportunity to talk with industry professionals, network and learn more outside the classroom.
Recently, the club traveled to Ames, Iowa for the annual Midwest American Dairy Science Association Regional Conference.
“It’s pretty incredible, all the university clubs of all the Midwest come together,” Geven said. “It has a lot of workshops and tours, it’s amazing for our members to be a part of.”
One member of the club, Reese Burnett, junior in animal sciences and industry, comes from a family in Wyoming that runs a dairy with more than 3,000 cows.
“It’s kind of a livelihood for my family, that’s unique to us,” Burnett said. “We take care of our cows and do everything for them and in return they give us their products to sell and make a living.”
Geven said having a shared interest is the best part of being in the group.
“I think my favorite part is it’s slightly smaller, so it gives everyone an opportunity to be a part of something,” Geven said. “I feel like we are all pretty close, so we know each other really well.”
Though Burnett and Geven grew up around dairies, the club isn’t exclusive to those with a dairy background. Geven said they have also seen participation from students involved with swine or showmanship. As part of their outreach, the Dairy Science Club also helps sponsor the Little American Royal during Open House, where students can learn to show a heifer.
“It helps students who maybe didn’t grow up on the same background as myself, gives them a little hands-on interaction with the animals, and then also it’s during Open House so people get to come see what we’re doing,” Burnett said.
Since only about two percent of the population of the world is in production agriculture, Geven said, it’s important to have the opportunity for connection with the consumer.
“I think it’s important for the consumer to understand that the dairy farmer has to take care of the cows in order for them to take care of the farmer,” Geven said.
Burnett said the group’s biggest goal is just trying to open the eyes of students about the opportunity in the dairy industry.
“If we can get people to see the opportunity with dairy cows, and see how fun and interesting they can be, then I think we’re achieving our goals,” Burnett said.