Dylana’s Next Chapter

Dylana Luett, who worked for CAST as the Communications and Social Media Specialist since May 2020 after graduating from Iowa State University, has recently accepted a new job. She has greatly enjoyed working at CAST because she was able to learn something new every day and help share credible, science-based information to the public. 

Her favorite memories at CAST include driving 15-foot passenger vans during the fall annual meetings—they are easier than pulling 30 foot livestock trailers! During her three years at CAST, she took over Friday Notes when Dan retired and had the help of two different interns. One of her favorite projects was the annual report as she was able to look back over what CAST had accomplished the previous year. She also enjoyed managing the science communication scholarship and helping with the Q&A portions of publication webinars.

Read on for more insights from Dylana!

I grew up showing horses and cattle. Going into college at Iowa State University, I knew I wanted to be involved in the ag industry. I decided on majoring in agricultural business with minors in animal science and entrepreneurial studies. I was always sure to choose classes that I thought would help me later down the road, especially those focused on cattle, as I didn’t know as much as I’d like to know. Before graduation, I was able to land a job at CAST and was super excited to see what they were doing for combating misinformation in the ag technology world. I went to a pretty small school growing up, and most people knew about agriculture. Going to Iowa State, I met people who didn’t know much about agriculture or where their food came from. It opened my eyes to how important it is to be able to provide credible, balanced, science-based information to the public so they could be properly informed.

With CAST, I had the flexibility to work remotely, which definitely helped when I decided to move closer to my grandparent’s farm and start taking over the cattle side of the operation. It’s mostly me doing the work, with my grandma helping occasionally and my grandpa giving advice. Having help from family members is so incredibly helpful as well. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by mentors who are able to answer any question that I come up with and are very patient. I also have someone who is able to do chores for me when I’m traveling for work or a show, and having reliable help makes things much more stress-free. 

Half of the ag people I’ve met the past few years farm full time, the other half are like me and work full time for a company or organization while also farming full time. I’ve been asked quite a few times the past few months when I’m going to start farming full time. I usually laugh and say I’m already farming full time, but like having an office job where I can also have an impact by communicating science. Farming can be mentally and physically exhausting, and having an office job balances things out for me. I enjoy learning, and I’m able to continue to learn something new every day, whether I’m in the office or on the farm. Knowing that I’m raising the next generation of cattle and selecting traits for a changing world is incredibly rewarding. 

My secret to being able to balance two full-time jobs? It can be tricky, but the support from family, understanding bosses and coworkers, and helpful mentors make it possible. It takes a village. It’s important to have a community around you that can help support you with farm and/or life advice. 

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