CSU, Chico

Kirby Swickard, Agriculture Business

Kirby Swickard, Agriculture Business

A new sight greets students and visitors when they walk into Plumas Hall on the California State University, Chico campus.  Every week, one to two agriculture facts featuring the different segments of the industry are posted on a large sandwich board in front of Plumas Hall in an effort to increase agriculture literacy on the CSU, Chico campus. The mastermind behind the “ag facts” was senior in agriculture business Kirby Swickard.

Swickard said, “We hope that in the future we can post facts more frequently and further reach out to improve agriculture literacy on campus.”

In addition to posting ag facts, Swickard stays very active on campus. She’s a student assistant for Associate Dean Dave Daley, a member of the College of Agriculture food marketing team, a peer advisor in the study abroad office, a member of the study abroad Student Advisory Board, and secretary of the Young Cattlemen’s Association.

As Daley’s student assistant, Swickard manages the cattle and beef inventory for the beef unit’s partnership with Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, along with other data entry. Swickard is also going to be helping Daley with upcoming research on non-ambulatory cattle.

As a member of the food marketing team, Swickard works with her teammates to develop a new food product and a marketing plan to present at the Western Food Marketing Competition in Fresno, Calif. “Being a part of the food marketing team has helped me develop my public speaking skills and learn how to effectively market a product and yourself at the same time,” said Swickard.

For the opportunity to be a peer advisor in the study abroad office, students are required to have studied abroad themselves. Swickard spent the fall 2009 semester at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand, where she took classes in communications and marketing. “Studying in New Zealand, I learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of,” said Swickard. “I also gained independence being so far away from family and friends.”

As a peer advisor, Swickard mentors students who are thinking about studying in New Zealand and students who want to study abroad but aren’t sure where they want to go. She helps them with planning their adventure and what to expect when traveling and living abroad. She has also been a friend and mentor for an international student from the United Kingdom who came to study at CSU, Chico.

Because Swickard is a peer advisor in the study abroad office, she was recruited to the Student Advisory Board. The board plans and develops the content for a conference called, “Broadening the view of student leadership.” The basis of the conference is to conduct workshops to teach students how to mentor other students on traveling and studying abroad.

Swickard had the unique opportunity to travel to Australia for an internship. She received an internship at the Australian Meat News Magazine where she interned from the end of May 2010 to the end of July 2010. Her internship entailed traveling around Australia, visiting meat boning and processing rooms, lamb feedlots, and a Wagyu cattle ranch to write articles for the magazine.

Swickard transferred to CSU, Chico after a year at University of Nevada, Reno. She came to CSU, Chico because of the agriculture programs. “My favorite thing about the College of Agriculture is everyone’s involvement.  It gives a strong community feel,” Swickard said. “I also enjoy all the opportunities the college offers, like starting the ag facts and research activities.”

After graduation, Swickard has plans to join in the marketing of her family’s branded all-natural beef products. Swickard’s hometown is Susanville, Calif., where her family’s ranch, Five Dot, is located. She was raised on the ranch where she joined in the everyday ranch duties as well as helping manage the ranch office.

Along with expanding her family’s brand of all natural beef, Swickard wants to stay proactive in the beef industry. “I want to continue to be highly involved in the California Cattlemen’s Association to further promote and support the beef industry,” said Swickard.