Associated Milk Producers, Inc.
New Ulm, MN
What types of activities did you participate in while in GDC?
If GDC did it, I was involved. From participation in skits during MN Royal to taking reasons during FFA invitational dairy judging contests, I always enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with fellow club members. I was honored to serve on the club’s executive team for two years, the final year as president.
Where are you currently employed and what does your position require of you?
In my role as communications director for Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI), I work closely with senior management to accurately and effectively tell AMPI’s story to a variety of audiences through several media formats. We utilize a combination of print, audio and web-based communication points to connect with AMPI’s dairy farmer-owners, prospective members, employees and customers. The written and spoken word is powerful — we work hard to make sure AMPI communications are informative, interesting and presented in an easy-to-understand way.
How has your involvement in GDC helped you since graduating?
Following graduation I was amazed at the vast and immediate network of fellow former club members who now became my colleagues working in the agriculture industry. These connections have been invaluable and reach into many different sectors — from crops and finances to on-farm production and dairy cattle genetics. I enjoy being able to call upon my GDC connections when I have a question I think they can answer or know they can point me in the right direction of someone who could.
What is your favorite memory of GDC?
Missing our connecting flight due to plane mechanical issues while traveling to Los Angeles for our senior trip. As a result, only half the group made it to the cruise ship in time before it departed for Ensenada, Mexico. I was in the “lucky” group that was left behind. We quickly constructed a Plan B that involved touring the Hollywood hills, visiting the San Diego Zoo, and walking across the border to Tijuana, Mexico, to rent a mini coach bus that could take us to Ensenada to meet the cruise ship.
A close second would be the awesome opportunity to enjoy the GDC senior trip experience for a second time, this time as a chaperone. My husband, Kelly, and I so enjoyed getting to know the seniors that year and developing a whole new set of trip memories and funny stories.
But truly, like all good clubs, there are so many more wonderful memories… too many to share.
What advice do you have for potential new members?
GDC is an amazing mix of students from a variety of backgrounds and one thing in common: A sincere interest in the dairy industry. Get to know your fellow club members and get involved in club activities and events. The relationships you develop will last a lifetime, and provide you with a valuable perspective into the people that make up agriculture.
Sarah Olson Schmidt, ’05 Animal Science, and her husband Kelly, ’02 Agricultural Education, are raising three girls on their acreage west of New Ulm, MN. From oldest to youngest they are: Aubree, 7; Kate, 5; and Britta, 1.