Fulfilling an Intelectual Need…

I laugh to my parents that they sent me to college a jock, and I graduated an intellectual.  Sometime during my four years at Dartmouth College I fell in love with critical thinking.  While a part of me will always love working with animals and being a “hands on” farmer, there is another part that thrives on intellectual challenges.DSC04809

I have lost track of the number of times that people have asked me why I agreed to serve on Tyson Fresh Meat’s Animal Wellbeing Advisory Committee.   I am not sure if their question stems from puzzlement over why I would take on another responsibility amongst my crazily busy life, or if they wonder what a small cattle feeder has in common with a large corporate conglomerate.Tysonlogo

The very simple answer to the question is that I agreed to serve on Tyson’s committee because in doing so I felt that I could make a positive difference in the United States food animal production system.  In addition, at a very personal level, serving on the committee fulfills an intellectual need. DSC07305

The Ivy League educated cerebral continues to exist somewhere underneath my farm coveralls…

Interacting with the other committee members, as well as Tyson executives and scientists, is certainly a different experience than the daily life that I live on the farm.  As I spent two days in meetings at Tyson’s Beef and Pork Headquarters in Dakota Dunes, SD last week, I fed the scholarly Anne while also staying true to Farmer Anne.

Each one of us is a complex individual with needs at many different levels.  I believe that one of the best ways to always play our “A Game” is to recognize that stimulation at each one of those levels is critical.  Diverse experiences lead to broadened perspectives, and I have found that the view from 3000 feet is often just as important as the view from ground level.F

In the words of Henry Miller,“If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored.  One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.”

How do you feed your inner intellectual being?


Filed under General, Tyson Farm Check Program

6 responses to “Fulfilling an Intelectual Need…

  1. Hi Anne! What a great post! How do I feed my inner intellectual? I travel and I read. The former is easy to understand, so I’ll focus on the latter. I much prefer books to board rooms. The pace of books suits me well. I may juggle 4-5 at a time in my busy life, but that doesn’t stress me or zap my strength like other activities do. In the words of a friend, “When you find something to do that feeds you, do it. There are so many things in life that drain you. If you find refreshment and motivation, completion and satisfaction or peace and perspective in an activity, find time to do that thing.” My “thing” from time to time has been shelving books at the library as a volunteer 1-2 hours/week. Everything has a place and it’s quiet!…and I need that order for sanity’s sake when the rest of life is hectic. While working there are tons of new books to discover. The library is ever so adventurous. 🙂 But I’m glad you are there to tackle the board room. Well done!

    • Thank you, Emily Grace! It sounds as though you know yourself well and do a great job of finding balance amidst the normal chaos of every day life. I also love to read—I don’t seem to find as much time to do it as I used to, but I can certainly empathize with your love of books. There is nothing like burying yourself in a great book 🙂

      All the best,

  2. Jeff

    First, the better question is: What was mega corporate conglomeration thinking? If only they knew before they asked, they wouldn’t have asked. Ain’t no way they would have voluntarily chosen someone who would come in with their own ideas and not be bowled over by the corporate institution. I know this from personal experience.

    Second, a whole blog post that arrived at a relatively simple solution. While we are very complex, both individually, and collectively, when we peel the onion back, the ‘solution’ remains relatively simple. All of that ‘Ivy League intellectual prowess’ has been used everyday by the ‘small animal feeder’ to make things both more efficient and healthy. Both for the people directly and indirectly involved, and also for the animals themselves. It’s when ‘critical thinking’ combines with hands on, that the best results are obtained. A simple solution that is often lost in intellectual and practical worlds, when the two are opposed to working in unison. Compare that to when they mesh…great things are bound to happen.

    • I agree, Jeff—and I really appreciate the compliment. It means a lot coming from you.

      We are all definitely most effective when critical thinking is married with “hands on”. That is something that I especially try to teach my kids—and sometimes it is really challenging b/c society does not always follow that path.

      Good to hear from you—keep those compliments coming 🙂 Hope that all is well with the family. Let us know if you head back this way for Thanksgiving–we’d love to see you all.


  3. sideline@list.indexers.org.uk

    not to rain on your parade, but I had to chuckle at this post…to me this topic is akin to talking about sex or one’s “huge amount” of patriotism: if ya got to talk about how much you’re getting or how amazing you are, maybe you are feelin’ a bit inadequate and could be doing a better job!!

    • Well, I have to admit that I have no idea where you drew that conclusion from. It is not at all what I was thinking when I wrote the post. I am sorry to hear that you misunderstood my words so profoundly.


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