Sustainability is often an overused word in my everyday life. It depends on who you talk to and how they define it. Often among my friends and some communications clients, “sustainability” creates more confusion than clarity. The bottom line is agriculture is sustainable and we are working now on sharing how we are sustainable, learning to tell the stories of sustainability and being able to define it for our farms, ranches and industries. The problem is we haven’t done that in the past. Now many outside of agriculture have tried to define sustainability for agriculture. We are playing catch-up.
In the midst of all of these sustainability conversations, there is a voice that I know who cuts through the clutter and tells the true story of sustainability in agriculture and that’s Dr. Jude Capper. I love Jude for her honest approach, rooted in research and facts but keen ability to story tell and tie emotion to the story of sustainability in agriculture. She is a says-it-like-it-is woman and I greatly respect Jude for her work.
Recent topics she has spoken on just in the last month include: Balancing Sustainability – What it Means to the Modern Beef Industry, What is Sustainability in Corporate America?, Belching Cows and Gassy Bulls – Is Your Cheeseburger Really Killing the Planet?, How Do We Feed the World in 2050…While Still Eating Meat?, Beef Has Always Been “Green” – So How Do We Convince the Critics?
I LOVE how Jude works for agricultlure, speaking, researching and writing on sustainability topics with facts and emotion. I also love Jude for being a brave and bold woman, coming from Oxford, England and now settled in Bozeman, Montana, for being a cancer survivor and most recently this year, becoming a mother. Recently Jude and I were both in Rapid City at the same conference. We sat down to eat donuts and laugh together. I also got to squeeze her baby girl, nicknamed Neep, now nine months old. I left encouraged by Jude and her words that she shared with me and also below, “Be yourself. Don’t worry about what others think of you, but be passionate in your beliefs and do your best to convey those to others.”
Meet Dr. Jude Capper below in her words and be inspired by this fantastic woman in agriculture.
What is your role in agriculture today? I spend my time doing sustainability research and traveling the country (and sometimes the world!) to give farmers and ranchers the facts, figures and talking points needed so that we can defend the livestock industry from the mass of misinformation that’s out there every day. I love debunking some of the most commonly heard myths, e.g. “beef and dairy are full of hormones that are bad for us” or “cattle are killing the planet”.
How has agriculture shaped your life? I didn’t grow up on a farm or ranch back in England, but became interested in agriculture when I started horse-riding aged nine. Back then I was immensely shy, had a terrible stutter and would never ever have predicted that one day I would be living across the other side of the world and doing presentations to large audiences every single week. That has been made possible simply by my passion for agriculture and the overwhelming support that I’ve gained from the livestock industry – it truly is a pleasure to work with wonderful people every single day, and if I can help just one person in each audience have a more productive and successful conversation, that inspires and motivates me to keep on doing what I’m doing.
What excites you about your community? Because I currently travel so often, I almost feel as if my community is national rather than local. I love living in a state where we have ~1.5 cows per person and meeting friends from the cattle community wherever I go. It’s also so exciting to meet people in “real-life” who I’ve only interacted with through social media through our passions for cattle, sustainability or myth-busting – although when they immediately line me up with a glass of Jack Daniels and ask for brownie recipes, I wonder if I share too much…!
When was the last time you tried something for the first time? Up until this year I would have chosen going on a horseback safari in South Africa or walking on the Great Wall of China. However, this year I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl, so almost every day means a new challenge or experience – and they’re all wonderful!
What is your favorite home-cooked meal? My Mom’s “toad-in-the-hole” – a classic British dish of sausages (bangers!) cooked in a batter base and served with brown gravy and mashed potatoes. Followed by home-made rhubarb crumble. Perfect!
If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be? Be yourself. Don’t worry about what others think of you, but be passionate in your beliefs and do your best to convey those to others. As long as you have passion and you love what you do every day, you will make a difference in this world.
What makes you smile? My little girl’s smile. It’s impossible to do anything but smile back – her humor is infectious and she’s becoming more and more amusing every day.
Connect with Dr. Jude Capper on her blog, Facebook, Twitter and sustainability speaking. For those you looking for regular Pinke Post updates, stay connected this month with me on Facebook and Instagram. I also will be sharing five giveaways this month through this Women In Ag series. You can find links to each feature in the Women in Agriculture series below and get to know all these fabulous and unique ladies!
My friend, Holly is the one who two years ago inspired me to get writing on a 30 Days series in November. Today she surprised me and featured me in her 30 Days of Agriculturists Who Influence. I am honored! Holly also lists all of the farm bloggers participating in the 30 Days series here.