I received a request for a phone Q and A interview from a business reporter at The Atlantic.com early last week. With the busy fall days and our “farm transition”, I was tempted to turn it down. But, the request intrigued me as the Q and A was part of a series entitled “Working” which explores the range of things that Americans do for work and how they feel about their profession. After completing the phone interview last Friday, I was glad that I chose to engage. The reporter, Bourree Lam, held genuine interest in our farm and the planned 15 minute interview spanned closer to 45 minutes.
Finding the courage to engage with the media provides a steady challenge for me. Over the past 15 years, I have performed hundreds of media interviews — some of them friendly and rewarding, and some of them uncomfortable and disturbing. The positive experiences teach me that there are those that are truly interested in learning about “where their food comes from”, and the negative ones open my eyes to the passionate judgements and resulting hatred that sadly has found a solid place in our current culture. While I feel as though my family and my education prepared me to be a contributing adult, I am not sure that anything provides the necessary skill set for dealing with the zealous hatred sometimes spewed from strangers. I breathed a sigh of relief at the end of the interview as Bourree’s respectful interest put a smile on my face and hope in my heart.
One of my favorite phrases is “pack your faith”. Nothing meaningful in life comes with a guarantee, and the road to excellence is rarely comfortable. Instead of thinking of taking a chance when faced with a decision, I prefer to pack my faith and believe that it will ultimately lead me to a successful place. Life isn’t a game of Roulette, it is a journey made up of decisions and action. Inside each one of us exists a well of strength, and sometimes the difference between victory and defeat is determined by whether or not we chose to engage.
The Q and A article can be accessed here: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/10/cattle-farmer/502991/.
You will notice that the comment section is not completely friendly, but I enjoyed a tremendously positive engagement with the reporter and I am packing my faith that the article will at least put a face on farming for someone that reads the article with an intention of learning.