Recently it came to my attention that I have inconsistently been writing this column a little over two years now. In that time, I have highlighted agriculture in our community as well as across our country. I’ve highlighted fun facts, farmers, agricultural youth programs, and much more.
However, upon reflection of my two years of writing, I realized I never introduced myself and my experiences with agriculture. I often forget I don’t know everyone in our community these days and let’s be honest, no one really likes talking about themselves! The time has come for me to share a bit of my story with you.
I’m Katelin Benkoski and I grew up here in Madison. My family has been dairy farming in Morgan County for 75 years. Just like many other little ones in our community, I attended the Madison First United Methodist Church Preschool and then completed K-12 in the Morgan County School System.
During my school years, I was also fortunate to participate in community events and organizations including Relay for Life, Madison Community Theatre, Athens Youth Symphony, Madison FUMC Youth Group, Madison Dance Studio, Morgan County 4-H, Morgan County FFA, Morgan County Middle School Band, National Honor Society, and the list goes on.
Some of my favorite memories include those in 4-H and FFA where I participated in Dairy Judging, Dairy Quiz Bowl, the Commercial Dairy Heifer Show Team, The FFA Creed Speaking CDE, and the Discussion Meet CDE amongst others. These programs also warranted me the opportunity to travel and compete on a national level for dairy judging and to represent the state of Georgia as a National FFA Convention Delegate and a National 4-H Dairy Conference Delegate. Outside of 4-H and FFA, I have also represented our community as I have traveled with Madison FUMC to Honduras for mission trips.
After high school graduation, I decided to become a true Dawg. I attended the University of Georgia in Athens where I double majored in animal science and agribusiness for undergrad and later obtained a MAB (Masters of Agribusiness). While at UGA I was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta, Block and Bridle, UGA Cattleman’s Association, UGA Dairy Science Club, UGA Dairy Show Team, UGA Great Southland Stampede Rodeo, worked for the Georgia Mobile Dairy Classroom, and worked as a student driving the University of Georgia buses.
I had the honor of representing UGA at a produce and floral marketing conference in Miami, a case study competition in Washington D.C., and as a Congressional Ag Fellow in Washington D.C. One of my most favorite experiences was having the opportunity to study aboard in Uruguay to learn about agriculture in South America.
After graduating with my MAB, I started working for AgSouth Farm Credit, ACA here in Madison. I still drive the bus for UGA on the side along with working on my family’s dairy farm. At our farm I assist with day-to-day activities, promote our agritourism, and I work with local 4-H and FFA students that borrow our cattle to show. I also help with agricultural events and dairy activities across our community.
This is the condensed version of my involvement in Morgan County and the basis of my passion for agriculture. I hope each and every reader now knows I have a deep interest in agriculture and that I have a credible background to share on this platform. I hope you continue to read my articles to find a bit of your own interest in agriculture.
Oh, and one more fun fact… today, Oct. 12, is my birthday. Happy Fall y’all!