Explore international agriculture at ISU

Gena Tesdall is a sophomore studying Global Resource Systems and Agricultural Biochemistry at Iowa State University. Genna graduated from Ames High in 2011. Hello friends, family, alumni and beloved teachers of Ames Senior High School. About a year and a half ago, I graduated from Ames High, not completely thrilled with the idea of attending Iowa State University in the town where I lived my entire life. Over the past year, I have grown to love and be proud as a student of Iowa State. I believe it is one of the best kept secrets in the Ames High college search scene. With a little courage, ISU can allow you to live your dreams. After leaving the Collegeof Engineering for studies in sustainable agriculture, I decided to join The International Association of Agriculture and related Sciences students (IAAS). This semester alone, IAAS gave me the opportunity to leave the country to attend theIAAS European Director’s Meeting (EDM) in Uppsala, Sweden. Thanks to funding from the College of Agriculture, I was able meet 73 students passionate about agriculture from 23 different nations during my first time abroad. It was anexperience that allowed the personal and professional development I was eager for! No longer am I as cynical about the green initiatives of the world. Sweden is a leader in sustainable agriculture, sustainable urban development, andgender equality. The conference consisted of three major parts: farm visits,workshops, and informal conversations about culture and agriculture. The theme of EDM was “HowDo We Treat Our Meat?” To explore the theme, we visited pork, beef, dairy, andmoose farms. The Swedes make me hopeful. I want to emulate their ideas in theUnited States. The Swedes are extremely proud of their happy pigs. The tails ofSwedish pigs are not cut and instead are given a greater amount of space inwhich to live. Minimal antibiotic use is also a point of pride. In all animalproductions, antibiotics are used as prescription medications, not aspreventative measures. As a result, Swedish livestock have some of the lowestrates of bacterial antibiotic resistance in the world. This produces such highquality milk that it is often not pasteurized before heading to the Swedishmarket. I miss the milk of Sweden! A major culturaldifference between the Swedes and Americans is Swedish enthusiasm for the landand agriculture. In the spring, thousands of people come out from the cities towatch the dairy cows run out into the pastures for the summer. As an American, it astonished me such a technologically advanced society would be so interested in agriculture and the environment. This is the way it needs to be in the United States. When I am asked about myfavorite part of the trip, I can reply without hesitation it was the people.Home is truly where one finds love, and I found lasting love and friendship inmy international delegation. It was astonishing how much we had in common. Weengaged in impassioned exchanges about agriculture and then danced through thenight, learning local dances and music. The representative from IAAS Pakistan describedthis best: “It is so amazing how we all get along. What unites us is simply…our humanity.” Over the next year, I willstay heavily involved in IAAS at the international level by editing allpublications for the group. At the local level, we are planning events such asan Iowa Wines Seminar and Tasting, ISU farm visits for Ames Community Schools,and a trip to Germany or Spain over spring break. My international travels will continue this spring break to study soils in Costa Rica. This summer at either CIP in Lima,Peru or ICRISAT in Patancheru, India, I will work as a Borlaug Intern for thePlant Sciences Institute at Iowa State University. If you are interested in following my travels and discoveries in culture and agriculture, I am keeping a blog called Nomenclature for the Sovarian at the link http://gtplantsciencesinstitute.blogspot.com/ . Next time you are consideringyour university of choice, think of Iowa State University. There is much moreto your education at Iowa State than classes or the city of Ames. Iowa StateUniversity will teach you how to learn and create projects in the real world. Youreducation is what you make of it, and you have the latitude to make it all yourown. Take license to live your dream! Less than a month ago I had nevertraveled by plane; by the end of the summer, I will have visited three nationsand lived in one for over two months. Success is where preparation andopportunity collide. So thank you AmesHigh sports, music, and academics for giving me the preparation, and thank you to the world for giving me the opportunity.