What is your role in agriculture?
My husband and I are dairy farmers.
What was your inspiration for becoming an agvocate?
It was when Everett was little. I was having a hard time explaining to some of my really good friends who have no ag background of how hard it was with a little one in tow doing chores. “Let Nate finish.” “Just don’t milk them at night.” I realized how disconnected people are from dairy farming. I live in a community where dairy is prominent and my fellow non-farm moms have no idea where their food comes from but they want to know. I realized I needed to start telling our farm story. Telling our story how we live, work, laugh, and cry together.
What is your favorite part about being an agvocate?
The best is when we take Everett’s cow 304 to school, the fair, or the FFA petting zoo. Anywhere kids get to pet her interact with her. Children and adults are able to stand right next to her, brush her and get first hand look at a Holstein cow. I love when people ask questions, it shows they care and they truly want to know. I ask questions about other parts of ag I don’t know about.
What is the most challenging part of being an agvocate?
The hardest part is the words. Industry words and consumer words are completely different. Just like every family has a language all their own, words in ag and words to the consumer have completely different meanings. Many don’t understand dairy farming, every picture I post online I look at it through the eyes of the consumer. I do this to ensure the meaning of the picture is clear.
What advice for other farmer/ranchers who would like to become more involved in agvocacy?
You don’t need to be on a soapbox. Don’t take offense when questions are asked. I am a firm believer in “If you want to know the answer you have to ask the question.” Agvocacy doesn’t need to be big grand gestures. It can be encouraging words to kids who take animals to the fair. When you see a mom put milk in her cart, thank her for making healthy choices for her kids. I look at agvocacy as I am not just representing my own farm but all parts of ag. I need to do that to the best of my ability.
What is your biggest takeaway or memory from an AgChat event or Twitter chat?
I attended the AgChat event in Nashville 2015, my biggest take away was the attendees passion for ag. No matter the area we are all wanting to know and learn more. We want to do better telling our story, how to be more effective with less words. Taking home cotton grown in Georigia. I still have in my china cabinet.
What does the AgChat Foundation mean to you?
AgChat foundation is a resource for all involved in agriculture. It is a place to go to when questions are needed to be answered for consumer. It is also a place for agvocates to be recharged and get refocused why the need for agvocacy is there.
Brenda and her husband Nathan dairy farm in Central Minnesota milking 110 Holsteins. Brenda is proud to say her children are the 6 th generation on their dairy farm. Brenda and Nathan purchased the farm from Nathan’s parents in 2011 becoming the sole owners. Brenda and Nathan share the work load. In the mornings and evenings Brenda can be found milking cows side by side Nathan with their two children, Everett 7, and Vivian 1 tagging along every step of the way.