June 2019 Young Alumni of the Month
By: Savannah Keitzer (senior, agricultural education and studies, communications option)
Name: Chelsea Daines
Title and Company: Herd Management Solutions Support Specialist at Select Sires
Major: Dairy Science
Graduation Year: 2017
Hometown: Westby, Wisconsin
What does your average day on the job look like?
I am a herd management solutions support specialist at Select Sires in Westby, Wisconsin. Each day at work brings a different schedule. One day I can be in the office assisting a salesman and their customers by helping them understand a product, and the next day I can be starting a feed trial on a farm to see how it can benefit a herd. What I love most about my career is that I get to work with a lot of adorable calves and the best people in the industry.
What is your favorite dairy product?
It is hard to pick just one, but I have to say Westby Creamery has the best cottage cheese. Before I would head back to college after a visit home, I always had to swing by before I hit the road. String cheese is always a great afternoon snack, and chocolate milk is a staple of my diet after a good workout.
What advice would you give to someone considering a degree or career in your industry?
The dairy industry may not be at a high point right now, but that shouldn’t discourage someone from getting involved if they are passionate about the industry. People in the dairy industry enjoy producing a safe and nutritious product. There is always a need for people educated in dairy science to assist farmers on their operation. Although the media may portray a lot of negativity surrounding the industry, the people in the dairy industry are still in good spirits and they are some of the best people I have met.
What makes you feel proud?
My favorite aspect of my job is understanding a farmer’s “why”, while also having them understand my “why.” I am the type of person that always asks one more question, trying to understand a concept or management practice. I also love when farmers ask about the products I am selling and implementing on their farms, knowing they can understand them on a deeper level.
Tell me about your experience at Iowa State.
My experience at Iowa State was awesome! I absolutely loved it. One of my most valuable experiences was working on the ISU Dairy Farm. Although it was not required for my degree, it was great to step outside of the classroom while still gaining knowledge that is applicable to my degree. This experience helped me take material taught in class and concepts from the textbook and watch them come to life. I also served as a teaching assistant, which motivated me to learn material in a way that I could teach it to others. If I had to go back and do it all over, I wouldn’t change a thing.
What organizations/clubs were you involved with on campus?
One of my favorite activities to be involved in on campus was Dairy Challenge. Hugo Ramirez, an assistant professor and extension dairy specialist with Iowa State University, was the coach and served as my role model and mentor while I attended college. Dairy Challenge was an eyeopener. I was familiar with a typical Iowa or Wisconsin dairy operation of 30 – 40 cows, but I was amazed when we traveled to California to see thousands of cows milking in one location. This experience showcased how large the industry was and all the opportunities it has to offer.
What advice do you have for students attending Iowa State University?
Make the most of your experience and step outside of your comfort zone. Go to class and do all the things you need to, but also join some clubs, get involved in an intramural sport and go on a study abroad. The study abroad travel courses were some of my best moments at Iowa State University. There is no other time in your life that you can travel with a group of people your age, explore a new country together, and gain a new perspective of the world. Most of all, enjoy your adventure!