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By Clara Bullock
An interest in dairy and a passion for travel has taken 21-year-old Mandy Smith around the world.
Mandy grew up in rural Nova Scotia with familial ties to dairy farming. She realized at a young age her passion for livestock production, but more than anything, her love for all living creatures. She knew one day she would attend the Faculty of Agriculture and find a way to work with livestock as a career.
After completing her first year of an Animal Science degree Mandy realized caring for animals was not her only passion and began to pursue a degree in Environmental Management with a minor in Animal Science - the best of both worlds.
“I believe sustainable agriculture is the future,” Mandy explained. “As the world demands more meat and dairy we need to find ways to minimize the environmental effects of production, while providing our animals with the best lives possible.”
After her second year, Mandy had the opportunity to travel to Finland for a summer internship to work on a dairy farm. Here she learned their practices and ways of treating animals. This gave her a fresh new look at how a farm could be managed and operated.
“The farm I was working with for three months had completely different ways of doing things. It opened my mind to understand there are more ways than one to do something. If we work together as global citizens, we will have a better understanding of each other’s needs and learn things we may not otherwise understand," she added.
This year Mandy will complete the final year of her degree. She knew she had to find another opportunity through the International Office to travel once again. She was notified of an opportunity to travel to Ethiopia to work on her fourth year research project and jumped at the opportunity.
“I believe seeing practices around the world helps to come up with creative solutions that minimize waste,” she said. “It also helps with understanding what works best in different regions and cultures of the world.”
Mandy’s fourth year project is, Extending the Shelf Life of Fluid Milk: a study of cheese making in Ethiopia. Cheese making is an excellent way to lengthen the shelf life of milk when refrigeration is not always consistent or readily accessible. Extending the expiration of milk products allows for less food waste and increases food security within the country.
“I wanted to experience dairy production in a developing country in order to get a better understanding of how dairy production works in different nations. I will get an inside look at how the Tigre region of Ethiopia treat their animals and manage their dairy production.”
Mandy is excited to be in the rural setting of Maichew, Ethiopia where she will spend three weeks fermenting cheese and spending time with her favorite companions- cows.
“Dalhousie has made me more globally aware through my international experiences. This project gives me the unique opportunity to experience different cultures and better understand other people and animals around the world,” said Mandy.
Mandy will return to the Agricultural Campus at the end of June.
“I came here to do one job but this international experience will teach me far more than what I came here to do,” she added.
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