Saturday, September 8, 2012

The county fair . . .

. . . with my non-agriculture friends and their children.

I have been on a few outings learning more about social media and starting conversations with our non-agriculture consumers.  It has been brought to my attention through intense breakfast discussions in Chicago, long airplane rides, talking with professional chefs in Washington DC, blogging workshops and conversation training that I have very few friends outside of the world of Agriculture.  If I were to scroll through my cell phone now, I would be hard pressed to find a person not related to farming and ranching directly.  So, I have been thinking what would make me qualified to write a blog on agriculture answering questions for non-agriculture consumers?  What makes me think I even have a grasp of what the other side is thinking.

Like every good thought and question you have about who you are, you are then given the challenge to move closer to a solution.  Last week one of the mom's at the school my girls attend, came up and asked if I would like to take the girls to the fair to ride rides with some of the other moms and their children.  I was thinking to myself I hate rides and although we attend a state fair every year and at least 3-4 county fairs, the girls have only ridden rides a handful of times. That is mostly do to the fact that their Grandma JoEllen takes them so Jake and I can watch a steer show.  I actually never told them about the rides until they noticed them for themselves.  So, I said yes of course we would go.

I find myself at the fair with not one farmer's wife.  I don't have very many friends that don't have at least one foot in agriculture.  What do you talk to other wives about, if not for farming, finances, new tractors, bankers, how many hours you haven't seen your husband this week and what are the best meals to take to the field.  The one mother I spent the most time with that evening, is a wonderful lady who has grown up in rural America her whole life.  She is a wonderful cook and her husband works for an electric company and has been out of town restoring electric to the recent hurricane victims.  She knows what it's like to lose your husband to his work for weather related events.  BINGO - connection!  

After strolling through the 4-H club still project exhibits we headed to see how we faired (no pun intended) in the open show.  Jacie got first with her quilt.  All of her friends and their mom's were excited for her.  I am hoping this may get Jacie in front of the sewing machine again. One of the mothers was very excited and had a lot of questions about entering at the fair.  I think she was even more excited to find out that the girls can enter in the third grade.  She thought they had to wait until fourth.  Yeah - a helping connection!

We then went to ride the rides.

We ended in the animal barns.  I asked one of the exhibitors if the girls could pet one of their beef projects.  She was watering a newly broke feeder calf and said she would need to go get a different one, that one was a little rowdy.  I said oh, do you want me to hold that one.  Her mother who was holding another calf said "OH NO"!  She said have you ever showed cattle.  I smiled and said "yeah I was in 4-H".  She said "well do you have experience with livestock".  I just kind of backed away and realized she had a good point she knew nothing about me and if the rolls were reversed I wouldn't let her hold my newly broke calf either. :)

It was getting toward the end of the night and we were tired.  We found the ice cream booth and a picnic table.

It was a wonderful evening and I learned a lot.

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