This expert in the calf and heifer industry works daily to improve dairy production and the dairy industry, a passion born at Tech Farm.
Title: Southwest Calf and Heifer Specialist for Land O'Lakes Purina Feed
Now resides in: Amarillo, Texas
Education: PhD animal and dairy sciences, LSU ’05; M.A. animal, dairy, and poultry sciences, LSU ’01; B.S. animal science, summa cum laude, Louisiana Tech.
What brought you to Tech: My dad Bob Cheatham was a teacher at Louisiana Tech for almost 30 years and Tech was a part of our family. I wanted to pursue a career in agriculture and Tech certainly had a great program.
Why did you choose this career: When I was a teenager, I had the opportunity to raise calves that we purchased from Mr. Jimmy Hanna at the LA Tech Dairy. This was a great experience for me as a young lady to gain practical knowledge about agriculture and running a business. My passion for the dairy industry and calves grew from this small entrepreneurship. After completing my bachelor’s at Tech, I found Dr. Cathy Williams at LSU. She too had a passion for raising calves, as this is her research focus. I was able to enter her program and had the opportunity to teach and do research under her direction. My current job incorporates both teaching and research. I enjoy being able to use my practical experience and education to help people with their calf programs.
Where you see yourself in five years: Working for Land O'Lakes Purina Feed
Your best memories of Tech: All of my classes at the Tech farm, particularly those taught by Dr. William Green.
Your advice to Tech freshmen today: Seize the day and take every opportunity in and out of the classroom to learn all you can. Work hard and dream big. Use this time to figure out who you are. Never compromise you goals or your integrity.
A “day-in-the-life” on the job: I’m a calf and heifer specialist in the Southwest, working with nutritionists to develop solutions for improving young animal nutrition and performance on dairies and calf ranches. I help facilitate new product demonstrations and launches as well as capture customer insights and regional industry news for strategic sales and marketing planning. A large part of my job is troubleshooting for dairies and offering management strategies so that they have an optimum calf program. It is great to work for a company that is so dedicated to helping producers through developing new products, and also supports the products they sell with technical service and consulting.
A reward of my job is: Helping dairies and calf ranches achieve their goals.
My career’s biggest challenge: Working in the tough dairy economic environment.
How Tech benefitted me outside the classroom: Working during registration, I had the opportunity to develop problem-solving skills. Working in the meat lab, I learned valuable lessons not only about meat science but about time management and getting along with coworkers.
As and officer of Alpha Zeta, I had a chance to learn leadership skills.
Presiding over the Alpha Zeta awards banquet taught me much about speaking in public. I was active in the agriculture clubs. I particularly enjoyed helping with our petting zoos at the Tech Farm.