Tag Archives: USFRA

Ask A Farmer at the Smithsonian

23 Jan

It was a LONG time ago that dad and I took off for a very quick (less than 36 hr) trip back to Washington DC to speak at the Smithsonian Museum for Ask a Farmer.  It was for the US Farmer and Rancher Alliance event, discussing food through history!  And here…finally I have the video from that day!

The panel was all about generational farming.  I was lucky to sit on the stage with a group of awesome farmers!  Check it out if you have time!  And feel free to share so more people can hear from some of us long time generational farmers!

Ask a Farmer at the Smithsonian

8 Aug

final-134Last week Dad and I got to take advantage of quite the opportunity.  We were asked by the US Farmer and Rancher’s Alliance if we would come speak on a panel at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  The panel was called, Ask a Farmer: Family Farms, Family History.  We were joined by two other farm families.  Evergreen Diary from St. John’s Michigan, represented by Carla Wardin and her mom Cherie Anderson.  And Cooley Farms, a chicken and beef farm from Roberta, Georgia.  Who had three generations there representing, Larry, Leighton and Lawson Cooley.


The event was featured within an exhibit called “Enterprise” which looks at history through the eyes of business.  Including the business of agriculture, which as we all know has shaped many ways that our country operates still today.  The panel’s moderator started off by asking some great questions, hitting on topics including the struggles and joys of working with family in business.  Also touching on how the younger generation decided that they even wanted to come back to the farm.  For one, Leighton Cooley, it took only 6 months off the farm to realize it’s where he wanted to be.  For Carla Wardin it took starting a whole career in marketing and living completely away from the dairy for years with her husband to decide to make the call home to ask her parents, “Please don’t sell the cows!” They wanted to give it a go.  And then for me, a college degree from Loyola Marymount University, a lot of concrete life in LA, and I was ready to be back in the dirt.

We were also asked questions from the audience, which included an awesome group of school kids.  Asking everything from, “How do worms make holes in the ground?” to “Do farms have names?”  All in all it was truly a great event.  The panel itself was recorded and will be available in a few weeks, stay tuned and I’ll share that once it’s up and running.

I think the best part for me was getting a chance to meet other farmers from across the nation who also have a passion for agriculture and doing what they love  with the people that they love everyday.  We had no problem all becoming fast friends.

While I was heading off across the country things at the farm didn’t slow down.  The crew was at home finishing up our swiss chard harvest, getting things all switched over for wheat and also keeping all our fresh crops irrigated.  So it obviously wasn’t ideal to take off, but since it was only 36 hours away from the farm, since it was the Smithsonian, and since I got to go talk about what I love the most, family and farming, it was an opportunity that I knew I couldn’t pass up!

I want to thank the USFRA and the Smithsonian for this wonderful chance to spread my family’s farm story!final-136

To learn more about Carla Wardin you can follow her on her blog, Truth or Dairy.
And Cooley farms has quite a large role in the movie Farmland.  For another look at their family operation check out this commercial from Farm Credit.

Thank You for All your Support!!!

28 Jan

Well the results are in for the winners of the Faces of Farming & Ranching! And unfortunately being a finalist was as far as I got in the competition. The winners are Will Gilmer, Katie Pratt, Bo Stone & Chris Chinn! You can find out more about the announcement and follow along with the campaign by going to the Faces of Farming & Ranching website. Congratulations to you all!!

I wanted to take a quick moment and truly thank all of you for your support. It was funny going through this process, mainly because everyone I saw during this voting period would come up to me to say hi and instantly proceed with “I voted for you today!”, “Shoot I forgot to vote!”, or “I’ve been trying to vote every day, but sometimes I forget.” The last one is my favorite mainly because I’m just about one of the busiest people you will ever meet, so forgetting to vote for me a few days here and there is no huge confession my friends J

I do want to say though that I’ve been amazed at how much people love this whole idea. I agree that agriculture has needed for years now to come together, and in a way that truly bridges that urban rural gap that we feel so strongly when we are fighting for our rights to farm in this country. But it’s tough battle, and I come from a state where it’s even more difficult because we are so diversified in what we can grow, a blessing and a curse. Not all farmers grow the same crops, (our county alone grows over 200 different crops), we don’t all use the same practices to get our crop growing and to market, and we definitely don’t all use the same market. And while being from a diversified state for our farm is a great advantage, at times it can leave us with more issues as a state, because as the saying goes, “united we stand, divided we fall.”

This group of farmers will do great and I’m excited where this adventure takes them over the next year. I’m also excited to see how this bridge gets formed to link rural and urban life. At the same time I will still keep doing what I’m doing to share my story of ag and continue the conversation about how we grow food for the world. As I said in my application video, “I have already signed up to be a dedicated agent to tell the story of agriculture!” So thank you everyone for all your votes, tried to votes, and sometimes votes, but mostly thank you for thinking of me and supporting me as someone who you would be proud to represent you as the face of farming in Oregon. This is just the beginning, I’m here to farm in Oregon, I can’t move the land and the soil, so I will fight to make sure that I can stay here and farm, and this legacy that was started to many years ago continues on!

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