CSU, Chico

Heidi Goss, Animal Science

Heidi Goss, Animal Science

2012 animal science graduate Heidi Goss may not be a teacher, but she believes education is the key to the future of agriculture.  Goss has been contributing to agriculture literacy since she was in 4-H and FFA by doing what she loves to do: participating in fairs and showing livestock. She now is on her way to pursuing her dream job in the fair industry, where she can continue to promote agriculture and educate the public.  

“Having grown up around agriculture teachers, I know the importance of agriculture literacy,” Goss said. “I have always had a profound respect for all educators, especially because I know I couldn’t do what they do. Working in the fair industry has been my way to reach out to the public about agriculture,” Goss said.

“My thought has always been that the county fair is where I can reach out to thousands of people at one time, whether it is through educational displays or talking directly to them,” Goss said. “In one week I can make an impact. The county fairs are more than a place for competitions. They are about history and heritage in the surrounding communities, creating friendships that last a lifetime and exhibiting the product of our toil.”

Originally Goss had plans to attend Utah State University, but grew fond of Chico State as a senior at East Nicolas High School near Lincoln, Calif. “My mind was made up after I toured the Chico State campus and participated in many FFA events held at Chico State,” Goss said.

She made her ultimate decision after attending Opportunity Day at the Chico State University Farm, where Dr. Cindy Daley demonstrated how to check pregnancy in cattle using ultra-sound technology.

“After that experience, I remember getting in the van with my ag teacher (my mom) and telling her I wanted to go to Chico,” Goss recalled.

Eventually she applied to only one college, Chico State, and she is glad she did.

Coming from a small, rural school, Goss was nervous about making the transition to Chico State, but after her first day of college, she knew she wasn’t just a number in a class. She found that the small class sizes allowed each of her professors to get to know the students personally and challenge them individually. Goss became comfortable with her professors and built friendships with many of them, which motivated her to perform to her own highest expectations.

“I have always looked up to Dr. Dave Daley and everything he has accomplished for the agriculture industry. During my time at Chico State, my respect for him has grown even more, and I will continue to look to him as a role model,” Goss answered when asked who made an impact on her at Chico State.

Goss also felt Dr. Celina Johnson and Dr. Patrick Doyle were always professors she could rely on. “Completing Celina’s animal nutrition classes and having the work experience under her direction has been very influential in the way I feed and manage my own livestock,” Goss said. “After Dr. Doyle’s class, I will never look at a cut of meat the same way again! In fact, I find myself thinking twice about grabbing the cheapest cut available,” Goss said.

As an animal science major and a fifth generation cattle producer, Goss naturally gravitated to the University Farm. She could often be found fulfilling her management team duties at the Sheep and Goat Unit, getting a hands-on experience in many labs, including the reproduction course for her artificial insemination certification, coordinating FFA Field Day Meats Contests, and lending a hand wherever she could.

Goss was heavily involved with many College of Agriculture clubs and events, including Ag Ambassadors, Young Cattlemen’s Association, and the FFA Field Day Leadership Team.

 Not only was she involved, but she took her opportunities to a higher level and received the Superior Ag Scholarship and the Chico State Ag Alumni Scholarship. She represented YCA on the Inter-Club Council during the 2010-2011 year and was elected YCA president for 2011-2012. As a senior, she received the California Cattlemen’s Association Achievement Award, given to students with outstanding service to YCA and for future contributions to agriculture.

To earn more experience in fair management, Goss clerked numerous county fairs, including Placer County, Silver Dollar, and Yuba Sutter. In 2010 she was hired by the Butte County Fair as the livestock secretary, and the following year she became the livestock superintendent.

Her county fair jobs landed her an internship with the Western Fairs Association during their annual convention. This internship allowed Goss to explore the other areas of the county fairs, including the vendors and entertainment sectors. Goss was able to network with other fairs statewide and had the opportunity to pursue a job for the summer of 2012.

The fair industry is an agriculture sector Goss is very passionate about because she believes it is one of the best ways to teach the public about agriculture. She is more than ready to dedicate her career to the fair industry, follow her passion, give competitors memories like she made, and contribute to agriculture literacy.