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.
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.
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.
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.
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?