Above the Clouds

I don’t know about you, but I love looking out the window when I fly. There’s just something about seeing life from a different perspective. As my flight neared Minneapolis for the Allen D. Leman Swine Conference, I was in awe. The plane’s angle made the clouds look so small as the expanse from above came into view.

Growing up in Washington County, Iowa, pork production was a way of life. I showed pigs, horses and lambs at the Washington County Fair. I attended Black Hawk College East Campus and Kansas State University on livestock judging scholarships, and along the way met my husband, Dan.

My passion for agriculture, communications and people spurred me on to obtain degrees in animal science and agricultural journalism. During college, I interned with my local Extension office; National Swine Registry’s magazine, Seedstock Edge; and Angus Journal. After these experiences, I knew I wanted to be the editor of a livestock publication someday.

I found my way back to NSR for my first “real” job. But, it didn’t look like the editor position I had dreamed about. In fact, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into! My mission was to create a national association for youth in the swine industry. I spent nearly 10 years developing the National Junior Swine Association (NJSA) into the fastest-growing youth livestock organization in the country. I developed by-laws, organized leadership conferences, started youth swine shows, designed educational contests, raised money to fund the growing organization, and communicated the value of our association to the world.

Then, Olivia was born. And two years later, Hunter. With my growing family, my travel schedule needed to change. I gained new experience at the University of Illinois in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences as an animal sciences and crop sciences writer covering breaking news and research discoveries. My connections to the industry expanded again. I transitioned into role of Director of Communications and Marketing, leading an amazing team of people for the past seven years. During this time, we welcomed our youngest daughter, Harper. 

As I consider the path that led me to Farm Journal’s PORK, I’m grateful that I didn’t find my way here right away. I needed time to develop a bigger perspective of the swine industry and learn more about how our world absorbs information. 

At the Leman Conference, a former NJSA member, now a technical and production support manager at Seaboard Foods, led a session on nutritional challenges. Meanwhile in the room next door, one of my former NJSA Board members – now a veterinarian – discussed PCV3. I had another “above the clouds moment,” seeing the expanse of this industry. I’m excited to continue broadening my view as your editor. Please don’t be a stranger – I look forward to hearing from you about the information you need and stories you enjoy reading.