Tyler Evink credits 4-H for setting him on a path of studying dairy production at the University of Minnesota and pursuing a career in agriculture.
Growing up in Stevens County, Tyler's cousin was involved in 4-H and got him to join. Tyler kept his sheep at his cousin's farm when he first joined the program. He has fond memories of their morning routine during the summer, hopping into in his cousin's car and heading off to take care of their sheep. He was hooked.
"I loved it from the start," said Tyler, who began showing sheep in 4-H as a 3rd grader and participated in livestock projects through his freshman year in college. "I was the first in my immediate family to get involved in 4-H. After that first summer keeping my sheep at my cousin's, I created a hobby farm at home for my 4-H animals."
In addition to sheep, Tyler worked with beef cattle and swine, and participated in 4-H project bowls and livestock judging. Through 4-H, he learned about the livestock industry, including the health, breeding and management of livestock. His 4-H project bowl team won awards, including winning a national competition in his junior year in high school. Through 4-H livestock judging, Tyler learned how to evaluate breeding and market animals and had hands-on learning opportunities to tour farming operations to evaluate cattle, sheep and swine.
Tyler is now in the 2nd year of a master's program in dairy production systems in the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Science at the University of Minnesota, where his dissertation focuses on large dairy production systems in the Midwest. Tyler also works as a research assistant for Extension Dairy Scientist Marcia Endres. All of his experiences in 4-H led to his decision to study dairy production at the U, and pursue it as a career. He credits 4-H as playing a critical role in life.
"I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today without 4-H," said Tyler. "4-H sparked my interest in the agriculture industry and my future career. It opened a lot of doors for me."
Thanks to Wendy Huckaby for serving as a guest contributor for this story