Hello Barton County! My name is Rena Berrett and I am the 2011 summer intern at the Barton County Office of K-State Research and Extension. This fall I will be a senior in Agricultural Business Management at Oregon State University. I just finished a year long exchange for the 2010-2011 school year where I studied at Kansas State University through the National Student Exchange Program.
I was born and raised in very rural southeastern Oregon on a family farm. To give you an idea of how rural it was, my hometown has 17 people, it was 80 miles to the public boarding school I attended for four years of high school and two hours to the closest grocery store, Walmart or McDonald’s. I grew up surrounded by agriculture. My family has a commercial cow/calf herd and a small feedlot but we also have crops that primarily include alfalfa hay, oat hay and grass hay. I remember when I was younger getting up before school to drive the tractor for my dad to feed the cows and spending my summers in the hay fields moving water or stacking hay.
I was involved in 4-H from when I was first able, which is the age of 10 in Oregon, until I graduated from high school. I took a total of eight steers and one hog to the local county fair in addition to being very involved with livestock judging and I even did one cooking contest. Knowing what I was able to learn from programs offered by my home extension service, I am excited to see these influential agriculture programs in action for other youth and adults this summer.
If you are like most people you are probably wondering how an Oregon girl ended up in Kansas. Agriculture has always been a huge part of my life and it is something I want to continue to pursue, hence the Ag Business degree. I have been very fortunate to receive many scholarships, several of which required me to receive my education in-state. However I had always lived in Oregon, so I wanted to see life and agriculture somewhere else. Through the opportunities of the National Student Exchange Program, I was able to keep my scholarships while living and studying for one academic year at a partnering university. I knew I wanted to go to an agriculturally based school and what better place to see agriculture than K-State?
Throughout the ten months I have lived in Kansas, I have enjoyed seeing the similarities and differences between eastern Oregon, where I grew up, western Oregon, where I went to school for two years, and now Kansas. I have loved to see how common it is to see farm pickups and boots when I am out and about and I have also loved how friendly the people are in the Midwest. I am looking forward to working with and getting to know those friendly community members and the youth of Barton County and I am very excited to see what this summer holds in store!
Just a note to the Barton County 4-H families – Fair pre-entries are due June 15th. Entry forms can be picked up at the Extension Office, 1800 12th Street or filled out and submitted online at www.bartoncountyfair.com