LIVE Lesson No. 14 – Confessions Unplugged and On-Stage!

Hello friends! I can’t begin to describe how excited I am to share this podcast with you.  Just over a week ago, Holly, Emily, and I had the opportunity to take our podcast on the road and share with women of all ages at the 2015 Women in Agriculture Conference at Jumer’s Casino in Rock Island. From gaining a new perspective on what the next 5 years of farming is going to look like from Dr. David Kohl in the morning, to visiting with friends we hadn’t seen in a while to “podcasting,” on stage, live, in front of a ballroom full of women (did I mention, we were on stage, with microphones?), we had a wonderful time.

I don’t want to give away too much on what Dr. David Kohl spoke about because I put my farm broadcaster headphones back on and interviewed him, (I will share my interview with him later in the week), but one thing that struck me is a piece of advice he gave when he was talking about being a successful farmer through the best and worst of times, was that “you needed to surround yourself with people who support and love you.”  Amen.

It has been five years since we started Confessions of a Farm Wife.  Crazy, right? I was still in my senior year at the University of Illinois, but was farm broadcasting full time for a small radio station based out of Clinton, Illinois.  That was when I first called Emily Webel who had just started writing her fantastic blog, calling out Oprah (you rock, Emily), and starting open, honest conversations about food, GMO’s, and also learning how to be a farm wife herself. I had never met her, but had heard about her through my friends at Illinois Farm Bureau.  I took a chance, placed a call and over the course of time, we have become great friends.

The same goes for Holly.  I had met her once before while still in college at the Farm Progress Show.  She was absolutely lovely, taking the time to introduce myself and another ag communications major to the Farm Progress Show team, as well as a whirlwind tour through the site.  She was dynamic, charismatic, and amazing. I wanted to be her. Fast forward to when I started farm broadcasting at WMBD/WIRL in Peoria when I called and asked if she would be willing to alternate weeks with Emily.  She graciously agreed. Thus, Confessions of a Farm Wife Thursdays was born on The Noon Show. And over the course of our interview segments, we all became great friends.

As our lives and job roles have changed over these past few years, one thing has not, our friendship.  These remarkable women have helped me adjust to life on the farm, career moves, family and infertility issues and more.  While we don’t get together as often as we would like, I know both of them are just a text message or phone call away.  Farm life and being a farm wife (or wife for that matter) is something not every one understands, but both of these women can relate.  They have “been there, done that” or are going through something similar.  If you would have asked me five years ago if our friendship would grow into what it is today, I wouldn’t have been able to predict that these women would become pillars in my life.  I’m blessed to call them friends and would truly be lost without them. We support each other.

In fact, I think that is what makes our podcast so special, not only are we friends who like to share about our lives and agricultural issues, but we support each other in a way other women (and men) who listen can relate to.  In a way, I feel like we support our listeners by talking about things that are on their minds too.

So when Dr. Kohl shared that particular piece of advice, I looked around and realized that not only was I there with my great friends, but I was also in a room full of women (most of them strangers) who could relate.  If we had taken the time to interview or visit with each and every lady in that room, I know they could have shared with us similar stories of strife and success. They had “been there, done that.”  And whether they realized it or not, each and every one of them followed Dr. Kohl’s piece of advice by attending the conference that day. We were all there for fellowship, for learning, and in a roundabout way, for support.

In this day in age in our industry, that is what it should be all about.  From organic farming to commercial crop production, from grass-fed beef to large grain feedlot operations (I could go on), farmers of all shapes, types and sizes need to support each other. That’s one of the best parts about being in the agriculture industry, EVERY one can bring something and has a place at the table (literally, the dinner table).

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one. ― C.S. Lewis

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