Why Do I AgVocate? – NC Meat Mom

What is your role in agriculture?

I grew up on a tobacco farm in North Carolina so I have been entrenched in agriculture my entire life. My husband and I currently own a grass-fed cattle operation, and I am the owner of a slaughter, processing, and further processing facility. Together we direct market our locally raised and processed beef products throughout the East Coast.

What was your inspiration for becoming an agvocate?

Early in our marriage, my husband and I worked on a cattle feedlot in Nebraska. We loved the experience and the friends that we made in the industry. When we decided to deviate from conventional production 15 years ago and establish a grass-fed herd on my family’s land, my husband and I were met with extreme opposition. Many industry leaders assumed that if we were in-favor of grass-based production then it must mean that we were against conventional agriculture methods…and this simply was not the case. In an attempt to bridge the division between our respective production methods, I decided to tell our story.

What is your favorite part about being an agvocate?

By far my favorite part of advocating for agriculture is the relationships I have made with fellow farmers and agvocates. Many I have met at various conventions and agricultural events; yet others remain faces on social media only. Nevertheless, I feel a bond and understanding with these ladies that is very intimate and real.

What is the most challenging part of being an agvocate?

By choosing to tell my story, I have made my family and our respective businesses vulnerable to attacks. Many well-intentioned people make judgments about our operation and our family based upon the glimpses they see online. It is difficult to balance sharing our successes while also privately dealing with our setbacks.

What advice do you have for other farmers or ranchers who would like to become more involved in agvocacy?

The best advice I can share with those interested is agvocacy is not to compare your story with the others you see online or in your community. The story if your farm is unique and can only be shared by you. Don’t worry if you don’t do things like so-and-so down the road or in another state, as long as you are doing what is best for your animals, your farm, and your family that is all that matters.

What is your biggest takeaway or memory from an AgChat event or twitter chat?

My first introduction to agvocacy was an AgChat twitter chat over three years. I was immediately impressed by the respectful dialogue and transparency of those participating. They taught me that it was okay to disagree as long as it does respectfully and without alternative motives.

Growing up on a third-generation tobacco farm in Eastern NC, I was taught the importance of family, farming, and faith at a very early age. My husband Patrick and I have incorporated these values into our own family as owners of Harris-Robinette Beef, a completely grass-based cattle operation, headquartered on this same land. While my husband manages our day-to-day cattle business, I recently left my job as a teacher and now serve as the sole owner of Micro Summit Processors, a slaughter and processing facility located in Johnston County. Together, my family strives to bring humanely-raised, safe, and sustainable meat to North Carolina. However, my most important role is that of mom to my two amazing children, a teen daughter and a tween son. I believe in parenting with eternity in mind, and I strive to honor God in everything I do.