Hi! I’m Eileen. I’m new to NYAAC and will be sharing with you lots of stories about dairy farmers in New York State here. However, I thought you might want to know my story first.
If you were anything like I was growing up, then you probably spent most of your teenage years doing your own thing, dancing to your own beat, dreaming big and trying to determine how to get out of small town USA. My story begins when I realized that my destiny belonged to the agriculture industry. After calling Penn Yan, NY home for 18 years, I headed to SUNY Cobleskill where I earned my Bachelor of Technology degree in Agricultural Business before heading to Cornell University to earn my Masters Degree in Agricultural Education. After trying my hand at teaching high school agriculture, I quickly learned that it takes an incredibly special person to teach high school students and I wasn’t one of them.
I decided that I needed a little more adventure to add to my story so on January 2, 2009 I began what would be the adventure of a lifetime when I got on a one-way plane ticket bound for St. Louis, MO to begin my job as a Monsanto Brand Ambassador. This opportunity allowed me to travel, with three team members, all over the country educating farmers about technological advancements in the crop and seed industry. I trained for and received my CDL Class A license, traveled 40,000 miles and visited 23 states. I skied in the Rocky Mountains and hiked part of the Appalachian Trail, and it was all because I stepped out of my comfort zone, took a risk and found a niche within the agriculture industry.
After traveling the country, I landed in St. Louis where I was an Account Executive for Osborn Barr (O+B), one of the nations leading agriculture marketing agencies. During my tenure at O+B I worked on communication and marketing efforts for Monsanto, Merck Animal Health and the United Soybean Board. I eventually moved to Milwaukee, WI as the Senior Account Executive at Bader Rutter and developed communications plans for Case IH and worked on the team that launched the 2000 series Early Riser® planter, the first product launch in 20 years.
I’ve grown to truly appreciate small town USA and am proud to call rural America, home. Thanks to my dad, I grew up loving pigs and enjoyed showing them and my dairy cows at the local county fair. Even today, it’s nice to go to the barn each evening and hear some pigs grunting as I walk in the door. While I grew up on a dairy farm, I quickly learned to love all livestock including my beloved goats, my older sisters’ chickens, my younger sisters’ beef cows, my moms’ sheep and my dads’ honeybees. What can I say? We love agriculture! My story includes great adventures as I’ve been known to jump out of airplanes, ride camels around the Ancient pyramids and travel to the ends of the country visiting friends and seeking adventures everywhere in between. But one thing will always remain the same – my love for back country roads and the amazing agriculture industry.
I think all great stories include great people and great relationships and as the new Director of Promotion and Outreach, I want to continue to build relationships and meet people across New York State. I will strive to continue to make my ultimate goal come true – that every person, young and old, understands and appreciates the story of American agriculture. We all have a story to tell; this is mine. What’s yours?