Since the late 90s (when Nick TV was better than Disney), my family’s farm transitioned into more of a ranching operation. With a few thousand acres to run commercial cattle and purebred angus my family fell in love with Oklahoma.
I fell hard.
The life I became to know and love was so different that what I would have had in Indiana.
Then I fell harder in college. The food system and agriculture's many facets became the thing that made sense to me. I traveled abroad with groups to Nicaragua, Argentina, Scotland, England and France and saw first-hand the different views of the vast agricultural industry.
After two degrees, I moved the 100 miles to Oklahoma City where I became the pork girl. ( A post to be written by the sportswriter.)
At OPC, was thrown directly into media buying and marketing promotions. I loved it. I loved telling stories. However, I became very intimate with the gap between agriculture and consumers. I needed something that, at the time, agriculture couldn't give me. I needed to know consumers.
I mean, I liked consumers. Wasn't I one? To me, the line between the two didn't exist. I'm an equal opportunity human supporter.
My plan: Leave agriculture and return in five to seven years with mainstream media and advertising experience.
I became the official travel writer and social media manager of Chickasaw Country, which is the south-central region of Oklahoma., and covered concerts, restaurants, stores.
The. Best. Job. Ever.
Just me and my consumers. Chatting. Exploring. People really liked hearing my stories. They loved knowing I broke ice before school, how my show stock made its way into the herd, what “fixing a water gap” meant.
the seven oh four
In North Carolina, I joined a prominent advertising agency that worked with clients in tourism, banking, sports, consumer products, commerce, et al. and found myself on the consumer frontline.
Sure I managed social properties, but I also worked with consumers every day. Until then, I had never been so intimate with a group of humans who were so completely removed from the family farm.
For example, during my interview, an individual in a leadership position laughed as she told me her 6-year-old didn’t know what a cow was. To me, this was completely baffling, but it made sense. How could a child know what a cow was if she didn't venture far from an urban setting?
My examples could go on for days, but it was like something clicked. I felt like Rocky. My whole life I’d been chasing chickens just I could compare consumers to Clubber Lang.
That may be a bad example. No fighting necessary.
the five one two
Only three and half years after leaving agriculture, I've rejoined the team. Go team ag! I serve as a liaison between agriculture and consumers in a vast lineup of commodities and have found a solid niche career in the digital space.
I live in an urban jungle filled with food trucks, live music and really cool humans.
My life is advocating away from the farm.
As a work on tomorrow's presentation and pull specific tips, examples and such I'm reminded it's really just about relationships.
- Listen more than you talk.
- See both sides of the story. (Even if you have to physically go see both sides of the story)
- And be you. No one knows (insert your industry/passion/project) better than you do.
From the 317 to the 405 to the 704 to the 512 and back.
Tomorrow I talk about sharing agriculture's story in the very place my life began developing its roots. Full circle, man. Full circle.