Kyle Brisendine spent her childhood on her family's small, grass-based farm in Michigan, where they raised beef cows and poultry. At the young age of four, she acquired her first sheep, and has been enamored by livestock ever since - from the vast diversity of beef cattle breeds to the use of guardian dogs against predators.
In fact, Kyle recently completed her Bachelor of Science degree with honors in Agriculture and an emphasis in Livestock from the Royal Agriculture University in Cirencester, England.
"England was amazing! I recommend doing any form of study abroad that you can," she said. "My dissertation was on 'The Efficacy of Livestock Guardian Dogs Against Coyote Predation in Sheep."
Kyle is currently seeking a Master's degree in Integrated Resource Management from Colorado State University through distance learning, while simultaneously working for an irrigation company as a farm manager on her family's livestock operation. Her family's farm now operates in Southwest Michigan, with a larger diversity of livestock including Devon and Hereford cattle, Blue Faced Leicester and Romney sheep, and poultry. They are also hoping to add pigs and educational classes in the future.
Despite her busy schedule, Kyle is excited about her future and wouldn't have it any other way. "I have always wanted to be in agriculture," Kyle explained. "I grew up around it and could never really see myself doing anything else. This is where I want to be."
As far as career goals go, Kyle hopes to make an impact on how people view farming and how they purchase their food: "It doesn't always have to come from the grocery store," she said. "Not all food is created equal, and there are a lot of differences in production systems that really influence the end product."
Kyle's advice for young women looking to get into the industry is to "[Not let anyone stop you. You might be the only female working on a farm and that is alright. You might lack the overall physical strength at times to get something done, so find another way."
There is always a way, and being a woman in agriculture or in livestock should never be an inhibiting factor to your career.
For more information on Kyle's Family Farm, visit www.willowfarmwool.com.