This week we are showcasing our dedicated Extension Educator, Laura Kieser. Even though we do not utilize Laura’s talents as much as we should, extension is a vital part of Minnesota Agriculture. It is the best way to receive up to date information on research findings related to agriculture. See what Laura has to say about her career.
Tell us a little about yourself. I have been employed as an Agriculture Extension Educator with University of Minnesota Extension since 2004. I serve the farmers and land owners in Carver and Scott Counties. My job responsibilities vary from day to day and include:
- technical assistance (answering phone calls, emails with questions relating to agriculture),
- planning and implanting educational meetings to address: emerging issues in agriculture, research that is being done at the University and helping farmers apply that research on their farm to help them improve their profitability
- working one-on-one with clients during farm visits or other meetings to help them meet their goals for their business, family, community and land.
What is Extension and how does it help the dairy industry? Extension is the outreach arm of the University. Extensions mission is “Making a difference by connecting community needs and University resources to address critical issues in Minnesota.” Extension helps the dairy industry by staying abreast of cutting edge research and relating this to dairy producers to help them make the best decisions for their business. Examples include research in cow comfort, new types of dairy facilities, and cow behavior.
What is your favorite part of your work? My favorite part of working in Extension is developing relationships with the people who I am working with or assisting: the farmers and land owners. After nearly 6 years in this position, I have many clients that I call my friends. I also have many clients that I would call to get the pulse on what is going on in their life and industry.
What is your favorite dairy product? It really is hard to pick just one favorite dairy product! As a farm kid, past dairy princess in NY state, and a current dairy promoter – ice cream has always been something that I cannot live without. A nice gooey, melty grilled cheese sandwich can be found at my house about once a week!
Any final thoughts? I am thrilled to see the growth of farms that continue to promote their product and their farm by using technology! Facebook, Twitter, and blogs are a fabulous way for dairy farms to become more accessible to consumers.
Thank you for the interview Laura! Laura didn’t include that she leads the City to Country Tour committee and co-facilitates the Scott County Farm Advisory Task Force (both groups which we are apart of). Extension is partly funded by University of Minnesota/State of Minnesota and County’s funds. Please let your elected official know that the important work that Extension does for agriculture is important to you.