I was recently asked to describe my favorite topic to write about, and the answer was easy.
I love meeting new people, learning their backstory, understanding the choices they made, the obstacles they overcame, and all the circumstances they have encountered along their path that got them to this particular place in their lives at this unique point in time.
That sounds deep, right? My family says I’m just nosey.
But I believe everyone has a story. It’s all in the telling. So, how did I get to this particular place in my life? A new writer with Delta Farm Press?
I grew up on a small beef cattle farm in Lebanon, Tenn. Some of my earliest memories are of riding in my grandfather’s truck, feet propped up on a feed bucket, eating wafer cookies as he fed cows. Farming was fun! Later, when we were chopping thistles or hanging tobacco, not so much.
So, agriculture has always had a place in my life, but if I’m being honest, I wish I would have paid more attention as a kid. I had great teachers right in front of me.
My goal was to be a television news reporter. And I did eventually become one, albeit at a small market station in Jackson, Tenn. I anchored the morning news and reported for evening newscasts, rising at 3 a.m. and often not getting home until after 6 p.m. Almost like farming hours.
I loved working in news — the adrenaline before a live shot, the unpredictability of each day, and it allowed me to put my nosiness to good use. But one thing I quickly learned was I much preferred telling positive stories to reporting on crime and tragedy. I wanted to tell stories about subjects that really impacted people, not just the sensational.
Which brought me to agriculture, or more precisely, which brought me to Bob Hayes.
The University of Tennessee was looking for a communications employee — someone who could help agricultural faculty, specialists and agents in west Tennessee better reach their audiences. Hayes was instrumental in my hiring, and a patient teacher as I learned about scientific research and large-scale row crop production.
After 12 years with UTIA, I started my new adventure with Delta Farm Press in mid-September. I’m excited for the opportunity to tell stories of importance and inspiration to the farmers in the Mid-South region. The best thing about journalism is you get to learn for a living, and I know I’ll learn much in this new role.
Our paths may have crossed before at a field day or conference. Or maybe you’ve heard my voice on a crop podcast or dicamba training. But now you know my story, and hopefully soon I can help you tell yours. Send me ideas for future content at firstname.lastname@example.org.