My name is Rachel Gerbitz, I am going to be a junior from Milton, WI double majoring in Dairy Science and Life Sciences Communications at UW-Madison.
My involvement in agriculture began on my family’s 60-cow dairy farm in Juneau, WI. My earliest memories include following my dad out to the barn to feed cows, and showing in little britches. My family sold the cows when I was young, but agriculture had already became a huge part of my life.
After we left the farm, my siblings and I continued showing dairy at county fairs. I was very involved in my local 4-H club’s dairy project and am a member of the Junior Holstein and Jersey associations. I have participated in dairy quiz bowl, dairy judging, and dairy jeopardy through these organizations.
When I was a sophomore in high school, I decided to purchase my own registered jersey heifer, and have since began developing my personal herd. I have learned so much about herd management from owning my own animals. I am responsible for managing the reproduction aspect of my small herd, choosing the best bulls to get the most desirable traits in my new calf. I also have learned a lot about heifer nutrition, as I choose what my heifers are eating in the months before a show so they are in the best condition possible.
Spending the early years of my life on a dairy farm and continuing to show dairy cattle inspired me to pursue a career in agriculture. Being part of the dairy industry is a full time job, you are constantly making connections and networking with professionals, farmers, and industry leaders. I am excited to be part of the dairy community, because there are always new opportunities and new ways to learn and share knowledge.