This week, through my work with state government, I left the Capitol, meetings, emails, conference calls and more to spend a morning in my favorite work environment, a local farm. I was simply filling a request for some pictures of a dairy farmer that lives near us. I can actually see the dairy from our house despite it being a few miles away from our house. It’s between wide open spaces on the expansive prairie and I had never visited.
I snapped the photos and have yet to do any editing to them. I know I won’t get stuck in the muddy waters of government too often if I can have days like this stunning morning was on the dairy farm. Besides the fresh air, cows, fresh calves and inside look at the milking parlor, the best part of the visit was the conversation.
Farmers have a way of keeping it real, saying it like it is and telling their own authentic story.
As we walked the farm to capture the photos, the dairy farmer told me about his family operation. I asked questions. I have toured dairy farms from New York to California before in my previous working life. But to tour the dairy farm I can see from my North Dakota prairie home was unique for me. It’s my home turf. While they aren’t my cows, the milk our family drinks comes from the supplier that picks up milk daily at this farm. I asked more questions probably than if I would have been at a far from home farm.
|The ladies in the parlor let me get a close shot with my phone .
Farmer Curt told me about how all of their manure from the cows is spread across their farm fields. I said that is sustainable as it gets but do people actually know that story. Do people know how farmers use waste to actually improve the soil? The soil grows corn, grass and other feedstocks. The cows eat the feed, produce milk and the sustainable cycle continues. I’ve read the expert opinions. But actually seeing it and hearing from the farmer’s point of view resonates the strongest for me.
Finally I just asked Curt if I could capture a little of what he was saying to me on video on my phone. Without hesitation, he agreed. Here is Curt, in his own words.
It was unscripted, conversational and from the voice of a dairy farmer on the North Dakota prairie. What he says is rooted in reality. It reminded me that even though I represent North Dakota state government now and my career has changed, my passion has not. I work for farmers, for the industry that I love, on the land my ancestors broke in 1884. I’m right where I am suppose to be.
As I departed the farm, Curt’s last comment to me was, “Katie, keep doing what you’re doing.” And as I drove away, I thought to myself, thank you. Thank you, Curt. Keep doing what you’re doing.