Sarah Novak
Vice President, Membership and Public Relations
American Feed Industry Association

What does Ag Day mean to me? In order to answer this question, I have to think back to my “summer vacations” visiting my grandparent’s dairy farm in Prairie du Chien, Wis. As a city kid, when I visited the farm I thought this is amazing and wonderful—the calves, hay bale stacks, garden—there wasn’t a thing I didn’t love. I saw how hard my grandparents and uncles worked every day and thought, this is what I want to do. They were proud of what they did and ate from what they could grow and raise on the farm.

When I went to college, I thought there was only one answer for me—veterinary school! It turns out I was blessed that was not the path I took. I graduated with a degree in meat and animal science and went to work for a company that manufactured milk replacers for livestock. I quickly discovered the road I turned down was the right one for me—working in an office, getting to solve problems every day and doing what I love by being closely connected to agriculture.

I’ve continued down this path, working for a few companies in the animal feed industry, in international agriculture development and now working in Washington, D.C., for an association representing the interests of companies making animal and pet food.

Living in the Washington, D.C., area is quite a change from the rolling hills of Wisconsin. While I still love cheese and the Green Bay Packers, I have the opportunity to represent companies that work with farmers and ranchers each and every day. Helping our members tell their story to Congress and regulatory agencies is just as important today as working directly with farmers. Fewer and fewer people are working directly on the farms and therefore fewer people in Washington, D.C., appreciate what has is done to provide healthy and nutritious food to Americans and many other parts of the world.

So this city kid certainly appreciates today’s farmers and ranchers and remembers the hard work of my family and my many farmer friends who are tirelessly working every single day to help put safe, nutritious food on my table for my family. Thank you, grandma and grandpa. Thank you to all the great farmers and ranchers in the U.S. and around the world.