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Faribault’s Kyra Flom, left, helps man the Oink Outings booth earlier this month during Grand Old Days in St. Paul. Oink Outings give visitors a behind-the-scenes look at Minnesota pig farms. (Photo courtesy of Kyra Flom)

Following her passion for sharing the story of agriculture, Kyra Flom is spending her summer interning with the Minnesota Pork Board.

Flom is double majoring in Agriculture Communications and Marketing, and Animal Science at the University of Minnesota. She grew up in Faribault, graduating from the Faribault High School in 2017.

Her family operates Flom Club Lambs, which has led her to multiple jackpot shows — where youth can gain experience and prepare for showing their animals at fairs — and helped her become a member of the Livestock Judging Teams for 4-H and FFA.

Kelly Chadwick, Rice County 4-H program coordinator, said Flom has always been a supporter of livestock and agriculture and while in 4-H was always looking to educate kids and adults alike about agriculture.

“She has always been very kind and she’s respected in our county,” Chadwick said.

In her internship with the Minnesota Pork Board, Flom helps in its mission to represent Minnesota’s pig farmers by working in communications and community outreach.

Flom heard about the internship from past interns and met some of the Minnesota Pork team while supervising at the Oink Booth and the Pork Promotion booth with Minnesota Pork at the Minnesota State Fair the summer of 2018.

“I learned about the internship and wanted to get more involved,” Flom said. She also said that the experience has been great as she’s involved with multiple communications events where she has the opportunity to talk to people about agriculture.

Already she’s taken part in Oink Outings, where she connects pig farmers to consumers so their story can be shared publicly. The event also helps provide food to people in need. With every question asked, one pound of ground pork is donated to Second Harvest Heartland — a nonprofit that helps every Minnesota child access healthy food.

“It was eye opening to see what people didn’t know and understand what people currently know [about agriculture]” Flom said.

She has also helped with the Young Leaders in Agriculture Conference — an event that exposes 18 to 22 year olds interested in agriculture to the challenges and ideas surrounding food and farming today while helping them grow into advocates and expand their professional networks.

Flom said it’s easy to hear negative stories about farming — for example, the treatment of animals — but with advocacy and support, people can hear how positive farming actually is.

“Animals are how farmers make money and their living,” Flom said. “If you don’t have happy animals, you don’t have production. It’s the farmer’s priority to have happy and healthy animals.”

Flom also said that the practices in raising animals have been tested and farmers don’t use practices that are not needed. Farmers communicate with their veterinarians, much as people with pets do, to make sure they’re always doing what’s best.

After graduation, Flom wants to continue advocating for farmers by working for an agricultural company while focusing on communications.

Reporter Renata Erickson can be reached at 507-333-3129. Follow her on Twitter @FDNrenata.

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