2013 Ag Woman of the Year: Heidi Musshafen

Posted: May 3, 2013

Frank chats with Heidi Musshafen, a beloved heroine of Ag Sciences and the 2013 Ag Woman of the Year. Read on as she shares some valuable experiences, goals, and advice.
Heidi spoke at the 2012 Ag Sci Scholarship Banquet.

Heidi spoke at the 2012 Ag Sci Scholarship Banquet.

Why do you think you were picked to be Ag Woman of the Year?

I think it might’ve had to do with the variety in my interests and education, being an ASM and ERM dual major while being raised on a dairy farm, as well as my experiences.

What sort of experiences? Clubs? Internships?

Both! Throughout college, I’ve been really involved in the Dairy Science Club. I started as the Osteochallenge Chair where I organized everything for our annual 5k benefitting osteoporosis research. Then I was the Food Booth Chair for our Spring Bargain Fling, and eventually I became president! I’ve also been a part of Collegiate Farm Bureau, through which I was able to speak with legislators in DC and Harrisburg about the ag sciences. As for internships, during my summers in college I was a Soil Conservation Assistant for the NRCS, a marketing intern for DMS (Dairy Marketing Services), and I worked with Dr. Heather Karsten researching sustainable dairy cropping systems.

With such a diverse background, have you honed in on any career goals?

Well, currently I’m a part-time financial specialist at Ag Choice Farm Credit and I’m helping out at the farm on weekends, so I’m sticking with what I love. As for the long term, I don’t want to limit myself; I really want to help farmers succeed besides of course remaining in ag in general, through work and advocating.

How do you advocate for agriculture?

School makes it fairly easy to do. Just participating in my clubs helps open eyes, and meanwhile I use social media like Facebook to provide info for my non-ag friends. In the future I hope to be a part of the Dairy Promotion Program.

Looking back now, what is your favorite memory from Penn State?

Ag Leap the summer of my freshman year – it’s seriously one of the best decisions I’ve made! It gave me a real head start in school, in making friends, and in getting to know professors. Oh, and I can’t forget the Costa Rica trip I took with the Dairy Science Club. It really strengthened my friendships while the new experience opened me to ways of life (farming included) in a different culture.

As for the professors you’ve met, do any really stand out as having influenced you?

Dale Olver. He’s a Dairy Sci adviser who you can just talk to any time. He provides excellent advice and is always looking out for your best interests.

Do you have any advice?

Maintain positive relationships with everyone you meet and never burn bridges. Small talk goes a long way. Cliques are only detrimental to you in the end. Just be friendly and open to everyone!

Now, tell me: what’s your favorite Creamery ice cream flavor?

Having worked there for two years, I know the flavors fairly well.  I think it’s only around in the summer, but Wicked Caramel Sundae is definitely my favorite. It’s vanilla ice cream with chocolate-covered peanuts in caramelly goodness. You can’t beat that.