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Mackenzie loves milk

Posted: September 14, 2016

Mackenzie moved to PA this past spring and was a bit concerned about leaving Tennessee; fortunately, the Tooker lab help her make a sMOOOth transition!
Mackenzie and her inspirations

Mackenzie and her inspirations

I love milk. I’ve been known to drink up to a half gallon of whole milk a day. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised (i.e., over the moon) to find out during research of my impending move to Pennsylvania, that milk is the official state beverage. All of a sudden, Pennsylvania didn’t seem so bad.

Being born and raised in Tennessee, I imagined my move north would be a culture shock. It hasn’t been so much a culture shock as a corn shock. You can’t escape the presence of corn and soybean here, because it’s planted on almost every roadside in town. If not for my position within the Tooker Lab, I would have made some ridiculous corn jokes and never thought about corn again. In a pleasant twist of events, I have become intimately acquainted to corn and the other crops that feed the many dairy cows in this milk-loving state.

Joining the Tooker lab for the summer has eased what could have been a difficult transition to a new state. Through my position, I have a better understanding of my new home and the agricultural lifestyle that dominates the area. I have watched corn, soybean, and alfalfa grow up from seed to feed virtual cows (which Andrew so kindly avoids hitting in the field). I have observed and documented the small creatures that eat these crops and threaten my milk supply, and I have seen the predators that fly and crawl in to save the day. Members of the lab work hard to translate this into useful information that farmers in Pennsylvania and around the country can use in their cropping systems. They have the ability to make what can be a hard and frustrating job just a little easier.

The wonderful people in the Tooker Lab have also played a large role easing my move to a new state. I thought it would be difficult to make new friends, but this was a pointless worry as I can now call the folks in the lab my friends. Members of the lab have been incredibly helpful in introducing me to the center Pennsylvania area and their own special areas of research. I will carry the knowledge that I gained this summer with me for the rest of my life, and for that I sincerely thank the Tooker Lab.