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My name is Courtney, and I grew up on our family farm located in rural southwest Wisconsin. We raise Registered Southdown sheep, show pigs, and dairy heifers. My family includes my father, mother, 2 younger brothers, and myself. All five of us work together as a family to watch our farm succeed. Growing up on a farm has taught me a strong work ethic. There is always work to be done, and as my parents always said, “The sheep can not feed themselves.You have to train the sheep to do what you want them to do.” I started helping on the farm at a very early age. My first tasks on the farm included feeding and petting the lambs, taking care of the dogs molly and Oreo, and washing my own sheep for show day. As I got older, I began to help check pastures in the summer time, make managing decisions, help my brothers with the pig herd, and many other tasks. 

When I was 8 years old I showed my first sheep at the Belmont School and Community Fair just up the road from where I live.  Experiencing my first sheep show I was hooked and in 3rd grade, I joined an organization that has truly benefited and impacted me as an individual. I joined my county 4-H and enrolled in many projects, some of which included sheep, pigs, food and nutrition, photography, arts and crafts, sewing, and the list goes on and on. I was an active member in 4-H for 6 years serving many leadership roles. I held several officer positions, joined and led committees, and participated in unforgettable 4-H Trips. I want to positively impact the lives of future generations just like others did for me.  

Another organization known as FFA, also, inspired me into the person I am today. In High school, I was active in many clubs and organizations, but I really enjoyed my high school FFA program. My 8th grade year, I dived right into FFA by joining the quiz bowel Team. I learned the FFA Creed and ordered my very own blue corduroy FFA Jacket. Through the rest of my high school FFA experience, I attended National and State Conventions and served as my chapter’s chaplain and Secretary. Through FFA I received many honors such as the Star Greenhand, Chapter Degree, and the Wisconsin State FFA degree. However, the biggest honor I received was the American FFA Degree in the area of sheep production. Only the top 1% of FFA members nationwide receive the American FFA Degree. It took a lot of ambition, devotion, and hard work, but I can proudly say that I am in that 1%. FFA shaped me into the person I am today. I gained many leadership skills that have motivated me to become a dedicated, well rounded, and determined individual. 

I currently serve as a American Southdown Ambassador. This opportunity is a lot like the FFA organization but on a much smaller scale. I serve on many committees, and hold leadership roles. I have the opportunity to promote the Southdown sheep breed and the sheep industry. My mentor Barb Bishop recently told me, “You are so determined and willing to set your mind to a tasks, hard work does pay off! You will make a great teacher because of your determination.”

I am currently a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville where I am majoring in Elementary Education. I graduated from Southwest Technical Collage in 2014 with my associates degree in Early Childhood Education. I love promoting agriculture, and I intend to for the rest of my life.