For most teenagers, winter break time means closing textbooks, sleeping in, and tuning out. For Andee Hammen, it has meant rising early and walking through the winter chill to help with her dad’s cattle operation. “Plenty to do when 150 cows calve out,” says Andee. “I’ve always loved baby animals, and I’ve been a cowgirl on the family farm as far back as I can remember.”
The small Iowa town of Jolley is not a typical Annie Oakley cowgirl setting, but it is one of those places where dedicated farmers work hard to produce the nation’s food. At an early age, Andee may have decked out as a gun-totin’ cowgirl for Halloween, but she knew that daily farm chores were real world necessities. She learned how to bottle feed calves and assist during difficult birthing times. “I’ve never been afraid of animals,” she said. “For many years I worked with cattle and sheep to get them ready for shows, including the Iowa State Fair.” Yes, even cowgirls show sheep at the fair.
Andee’s show days at the fair are over, but she is still focused on agriculture. As an Iowa State University junior, she is majoring in agricultural communications and recently accepted an intern position at the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. On the ISU campus, Andee is a member of the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow club, and as a student ambassador, she helps with recruiting. At the CAST office, she helps with editorial support, event organization, and social media.
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