Starting the next day after an evening full of storms, the MARL class took on the Hormel Plant. The class divided up into three sections and suited up – literally. From head to toe, the class was dressed in lab coats, hair nets, rubber slip-ons, and ear plugs. Additionally, to hear the tour guides more efficiently throughout the plant, the class was given head sets with mini speakers to communicate with the tour guide. The tour lasted a bit over an hour and the class got to travel through the factory. They saw many different cuts of meat, and of course bacon! They saw the smoke houses for sausages, the production and processing of SPAM and so much more. The tour was overall an enriching experience for the class to see the whole production cycle of processing different livestock.

After the Hormel Plant, the class made its way to the YMCA (which is partially funded by the Hormel Foundation) where they met with the Mower County Soil and Conservation District.  First to speak was the water plan and outreach coordinator Tim Ruzek. Ruzek’s passion for sharing his community was outstanding. He highlighted all the opportunities the Cedar River had for recreational activities such as kayaking, shared community efforts to keep the River clean and presented many of the outreach efforts he gets to do. Following Ruzek, Justin Hanson the district manager for the district gave his presentation. He shared more on the different watersheds in the county, the daily challenges his faces each day and most importantly he highlighted on his leadership mantra. The class really appreciated Hanson’s intake on leadership. One quote Hanson said was “That’s what leadership is – it is service.”

Following the presentations, the class made its way to the SPAM museum. They huddled in a circle and did their golden nuggets which consisted of something that inspired them during their trip to Austin. To conclude the trip, the class toured the SPAM museum which highlighted the history of SPAM, the different flavors and so much more.

Submitted by Kaelyn Rahe


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