As chair of the advancement-committee of the Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation, Megan Lauber encourages young women to join the organization. At the day April 13 for the organization – AWA Day — she encouraged members of the association’s student chapter to join the alumni organization after they graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

“I chose to serve as the advancement-committee chair because I wanted to give back to the organization that gave so much to me as a student,” Lauber said. “The association helps women in agriculture by generating a strong network of women who are driven and passionate about agriculture. The connections are great from a professional aspect, but they also serve as great friendships. The association provides excellent professional-development opportunities for members to create and have a strong personal brand.”

Lauber was raised on her family’s 60-cow registered-Holstein farm near Union Grove, Wisconsin. She was a member of 4-H in the Racine County area. Union Grove High School discontinued in the 1960s agriculture classes and FFA, so Lauber wasn’t an FFA member. But in summer 2018 the agriculture program and FFA were reinstated. The Union Grove FFA currently has 36 members; individuals involved in agriculture in the area serve as alumni.

“I commend the high school for now realizing the importance of agriculture and reinstating a program with new facilities,” Lauber said. “Carrie Jacobs (agriculture teacher and FFA adviser) has done an excellent job with the Union Grove FFA chapter, and I’m thrilled to help her in any way I can.”

Jacobs said she’s known Lauber for several years. They often showed cattle together at the Wisconsin State Fair.

“Megan is a strong advocate of agriculture education and FFA, and she and her family have offered fundraising suggestions,” Jacobs said. “They also help train the dairy-evaluation team.”

Lauber with her brothers and sisters-in-law also help the Waterford FFA chapter prepare for dairy judging.

In addition to her volunteer work, Lauber is pursuing a master’s degree in dairy reproductive-physiology at UW-Madison. She earned her bachelor’s degree in dairy science in May 2018 from the university.

“Physiology is fascinating, especially in regard to the intricate mechanisms needed to generate a pregnancy,” she said. “Pregnancy is extremely valuable in the dairy industry because without it there’s no lactation. My research goal is to improve female and male fertility, and to optimize reproductive protocols when using sexed semen.

“The more I learn the more I see a lot of unanswered questions. I’ve thought about pursuing a doctorate. My main goals are to work in dairy-reproductive consulting and be involved in research. “

Lauber said ABS Global is funding her research project and master’s study. She participated in a supply-chain internship at the genetics company to learn more about male fertility and semen processing. She learned how semen is processed and packaged, she said, as well as laboratory procedures and quality standards.

“This has been beneficial for my research project, and I enjoy being able to learn about male and female fertility in great detail,” she said.

Lauber shares advice with other young women who aspire to a career in agriculture.

“Support and empower other women to empower yourself,” she said. “It’s great to be competitive, but people sometimes forget that putting someone else down won’t move one forward in life. By helping others to reach their goals, you also lift yourself to reach yours.

“My other advice would be that you don’t need to know everything. But you need to be present, hardworking, positive and willing to learn. Everyone starts as a beginner. But with a good attitude, work ethic and drive, you’ll get to where you need to be.”

Lynn Grooms writes about the diversity of agriculture, including the industry’s newest ideas, research and technologies as a staff reporter for Agri-View based in Wisconsin. Email lgrooms@madison.com to contact her.