Internship Opportunity

The National Turkey Federation is currently accepting internship applications for the spring 2016 semester in their Washington, D.C. office. They are seeking a recent graduate or a currently enrolled senior with a desire to learn about and advocate for the turkey industry. Pursuit of, or degree in, poultry science or animal science is strongly desired but not mandatory. Additionally, they will put strong consideration on those that seek to work in the poultry industry as a career. The internship is paid, and they will assist candidates with finding housing if needed.

Candidates can send a resume, a letter of recommendation, and a cover letter to by close of business on Friday, November 13 to be considered. The cover letter should answer the following two questions: (1) What interests you about the poultry industry? And (2) Why do you see this internship as a good fit for you?

For more information, please contact Sarah Trujillo ( for an internship description.

Words to Teach By:

It is not enough to do your best. You must first know what to do, and then do your best —

W. Edwards Deming

Happy Thanksgiving!

As we begin the ‘Holiday Season’ thanks to each of you who have offered support and encouragement during 2014.  It is appreciated more than words could properly express.

Food Insecurity

I had the opportunity yesterday to attend a meeting where we discussed elderly access to fresh produce.  While I won’t, at this point, get into the purpose of this meeting, suffice it to say it could be a very exciting opportunity in the near future.

The subject matter triggered in me the thought of food insecurity in our nation.  Granted, this is a subject I don’t dwell on often and, to be honest, don’t know as much about as I should, given my chosen profession.

Food in America is abundant.  On the way home from yesterday’s meeting I stopped at Target where food was plentiful albeit quite a bit more expensive recently.  I bought lemons and jelly beans without pause to those that may not be able to be it for financial reasons or availability.

According to Feeding America (American Hunger Statistics) 49 million Americans live in food insecure households, almost 16 million of those are children.  Food insecurity is defined as the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.  In my naiveté I find this number hard to comprehend.  How is it possible that persons go to bed each night hungry in our nation?

Some of the answers are obvious and part of a greater problem – drug abuse, homelessness, mental illness – hunger is simply a symptom not the cause.  But what about folks like Kevin Durant who cited hunger in his recent MVP acceptance speech?

Kevin Durant MVP

He speaks of a courageous mother who would go to bed hungry in order to ensure her children had food.  How many others are making this choice while raising children who will someday change the world?  What is our duty as food manufacturers in this game?  We all donate large amounts of food to many different charitable organizations, all of whom serve different parts of the need – homeless shelters, food banks, elderly care centers both within and outside of our communities.

With the amount of food waste in this country there must be some way help close this gap and I’m certain many good people are working to do so as we speak.  How can we help and should we be doing more?  A question I challenge each of us to answer in our own unique way.  What can I do to make a difference today?

Food (if you will) for thought……


Happy Thanksgiving!!


Enough Leaning Already!

I am rereading Leaning In by Sheryl Sandberg to try to remember what I found so obvious and useless about the book the first time around.  I must admit that when Ms. Sandberg first started talking I listened with some interest.  A few years ago her speech about a ‘seat at the table’ was quite the You-Tube sensation and that was my introduction to her.

Here’s my problem – I don’t think I’ve been a victim of being a woman in a man’s world.  I’ve worked in agriculture my entire life – 4 jobs, 2 degrees, 4-H – all primarily male dominated.  I can’t think of one time I have been denied access or promotion because of my sex.  I’ve had to work hard to get what I have, most people do, and I think that has been good for me.

I’ve come by my leadership skills through a combination of doing what I believe was right and watching others do what I believed was wrong (vowing not to be “that person”).  I am of the camp that leadership is more of a natural phenomena than a learned behavior.  Leadership is not earned through position but rather by behavior.

Shortly after reading Lean In I came across the article Lean Out in Money Magazine.  Another extreme idea with some good points.  I’ll have to revisit that after I finish this.  We shall see how I feel the second time round.


Speak your Mind

As I write this update, Senator Ted Cruz from the great state of Texas has just ended his 21 plus hour marathon presentation on the floor of the Senate.  This occurs just a few months after Wendy Davis from that same great state performed the same act on the floor of the state house.  Both were fighting for what they believed in.  Why do people find that so hard to fathom these days?  Where is the true grit of leadership where you speak your mind and let the chips fall where they may?

I’ve written here about leadership – or lack there of – before.  The degrading of our society to the point that no one is willing to put their neck on the line to stand up for what they believe is right.  Everyone seems to live in this fear that their opinion won’t be that of the majority.  That they’ll be proven wrong.  This results in a tremendous vacuum that far too few are fighting to fill.

Where are the heroes of our generation?  Where are those who state their case, damn the consequences?  Your political stance doesn’t matter so much as the willingness to stand up for what you believe in.  Engage in healthy debate, try to win others to your side, lead and be followed, state your case, challenge yourself and others to be better – why are these such foreign concepts in today’s society.  Why is healthy disagreement now viewed as disrespect and bias?

To use an oft abused query – what about the children?  What example are we setting for them?


Leadership – its been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been fortunate to have many strong leaders, both professional and personal, in my life and I believe that has spoiled me. As I have matured i have found it increasing difficult to tolerate those in leadership positions who do not deserve to be there.
I teach a class on Technical Team Leadership where I discuss that challenges of a science minded person leading a non-scientific team and the methods needed to ensure that all in the team feel confident in the direction. Popularly known as “dumbing it down” I, tongue in cheek, often refer to it as the voodoo that we do. It shouldn’t be taken lightly, however. I am often reminded the general discomfort and downright fear many executives feel about Food Safety. I always felt it was my responsibility to help them understand the nuances of the situation so that they could communicate the situation to their peers. I was good at it and I was rewarded with great relationships with strong leaders. It is this skill I attempt to pass on to those who participate in my Technical Team Leadership class.
Part of this class discusses managers versus leaders and I present the following comparison:


Focus on things
Do things “right”

Whereas leaders:

Focus on people
Do the right things

This world needs good leaders. Persons who put the greater good above their personal comfort. Persons who, willingly or unwillingly, inspire others to be better people. My hope is that I fulfill that void where I can and that those who are in positions of leadership strive to be the best they can be or step aside and let others take the reins.