Hello everyone! I’m glad to be able to introduce myself. My name is Haley Zynda, and I am thrilled to serve as the new Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator in Wayne County. I am a Michigan native (but that will be our little secret!) and I grew up about an hour north of Detroit. Although I was not raised in a production agriculture setting, a lifelong love for horses sent me to the University of Kentucky for a Bachelor of Science Degree in equine science. While in Kentucky, I was exposed to so much more than I bargained for and my passion evolved from not only equine science, but to all of animal sciences, namely dairy. I like to say that I went for the horses but stayed for the cows! My experiences in undergrad afforded me the opportunity to dive into the world of agriculture wholeheartedly. Coursework in nutrition, physiology, reproduction, genetics, farm business, and entomology were the “first looks” at livestock production through an academic lens. Through my extracurricular activities and jobs, I was better able to apply book knowledge to real life. In Block and Bridle I was able to learn the showing side of livestock, from beef and sheep showmanship to hosting and interning at the Kentucky Beef Exposition and the North American International Livestock Exposition. Interning for Kentucky Cooperative Forage Extension granted me the ability to travel to horse and cattle farms in central Kentucky to perform pasture evaluation and weed identification. Still remaining true to my equestrian roots, I interned as a horse stable manager for a summer and spent a couple seasons in guest services at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington. Furthermore, my interest in science and research led me to working in the parasitology laboratory at the Gluck Equine Research Center for a year and a half. In that time, I was introduced to project creation and hypothesis testing and eventually published my first peer-reviewed scientific paper on parasitic infections of foals.
However, my changing perception of agriculture and its research urged me to pursue a graduate degree in nutrition. I graduated from THE Ohio State University on May 9 with a master’s degree in dairy science and nutrient management. I have been living in Wooster for about a year now and conducted research at the OARDC/OSU ATI Campus. There, my work combined both nutrition and manure management. I tested a low dietary cation-anion difference to lactating cows to alter their manure characteristics, such as urine and fecal output and acidity of excretions, in an attempt to reduce overall manure gas emissions, such as ammonia. I also monitored milk production and digestibility, production parameters that would potentially be negatively impacted by a low DCAD. Apart from the work done in my laboratory with Dr. Lee, I have also had the chance to present at scientific conferences. At the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences Celebration of Research I presented a poster on milk fat profile and at the Tri-State Dairy Nutrition Conference I was able to place 3rd in the master’s presentation competition for my work in manure alteration. I plan on virtually attending the American Dairy Science Association annual meeting in July to present the above research. I have also been able to assist with beef nutrition and sheep reproduction trials with my peers at the OSU research farms at Don Scott in Columbus and EARS in Belle Valley.
However, I am not all research, all the time! On the weekends you can usually find me farming alongside my boyfriend and his family on their 4th generation hog and sheep farm in southeast Ohio. He and I both enjoy raising nutritious animal-derived protein products and have even started dabbling in home butchery. When I’m not actively working in the office or on the farm, I enjoy DIY projects. Just recently I refinished our kitchen table and I look forward to using it to serve homegrown and homemade meals. I also enjoy crocheting or sitting down with a good novel. I can honestly say that The Ohio State University has been such an impactful institution in my life – from the knowledge gained to the networks imparted upon me – that I just couldn’t stay away! I look forward to learning more about the agriculture in Wayne County and can’t wait to start working with you. Please stop by to say hello or simply drop me a note at Zynda.firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, Go Bucks!
Haley Zynda is an OSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.
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