Kayla Hultquist went to college to pursue a civil engineering career, but quickly realized she’d rather combine her knack for numbers with her passion for large animals. So she switched her major to animal science instead.
She enjoyed it so much that, after graduating from Iowa State University, she went on to South Dakota State University to earn her master’s degree in dairy science.
“My first year in college, I was just torn between pursuing the math side of a career versus the animal side, but then I figured out I could combine the two,” says Hultquist, who grew up with horses in Muscatine, Iowa. “There weren’t a lot of graduate positions out there in equine nutrition, so dairy was the best fit.”
After a dairy research internship in New York, Hultquist went to work for an animal nutrition company in Illinois, where she conducted research trials for cows and calves – gathering samples and collecting data both in the lab and on the farm. An opportunity to join the nutrition team at Kent Nutrition Group brought her back to her hometown just two years later.
Today Hultquist works closely with sales managers to develop formulas for dairy farms, analyze forage samples to create custom diets, and identify which ingredients are most effective at the lowest cost for the customer.
“Efficiency and profit are always No. 1 on their minds,” Hultquist says. “I help provide them with a cost-effective ration that’s still of the highest quality.”
Hultquist – whose grandfather also worked for Kent – says she’s proud to be part of a company that places so much emphasis on customer service.
“We’re a fairly large company, but we still have one-on-one contact with our customers and work hard on their individual needs,” she says. “We’re really intentional about that.”
Kayla lives near Muscatine, Iowa with her boyfriend Ryan, who works corn and soybean crops on his grandfather’s farm. She enjoys traveling, hiking, and riding her horse, Steel.