My Experience in Ag
“Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O”
It turns out that the agriculture gods have a sense of humor after all. My story begins in bright and sunny, Southern California, where I was born and raised five miles from the sandy shores of Huntington Beach. So close that some days if the wind was strong enough, I could smell the salty ocean air from my bedroom window. My closest connection to agriculture when growing up was the children’s song, “Old MacDonald”. I knew he had a farm, and I knew he had pigs, but that was about it! Looking back, I’m sure the young me would have a hard time believing where I’m at today.
Rolling the Dice
The funny thing is, the Midwest was never on my radar when deciding on a school to attend for college. But it just so happened that with some convincing from my family, most of whom attend college in North Dakota, I would soon be adding to that family legacy. I took a chance, packed my car up, and drove towards my new home. With each mile that I drove, the life I had before slowly became a memory.
Bartending in Tater Town, USA
My first real experience with agriculture was surprisingly, bartending in Hoople, ND, at Duffy’s Bar and Grill. This amazing little bar tucked away in potato country was my first time interacting with the farming community. Let me tell you, as someone new to the Midwest, walking into a small-town bar, where everyone knows everyone, nothing is more intimidating than that. But over time and with some great conversations over beer, I got to know what they’re all about. Just by judging how they walk into the bar, I could tell how things were going out on the farms. Now, this past harvest was brutal, and heartbreaking to say the least, but one farmer told me something that spoke a lot about the community itself. He said to me, “As hard as this was on us all, I’m so proud of everyone for working as hard as they did. To be able to do what we do, we're the luckiest people on Earth” And he couldn’t have been more right.
From my experiences bartending in “Tater Town, U.S.A.”, I was hungry for more. I wanted to dig deeper into the world of agriculture. That led me to apply for an internship at Black Gold Farms, a leader in the potato ag community. With having such limited experience in the agriculture business, I was worried I wouldn’t qualify for the internship. But I did my homework, came prepared, and they decided to take a chance on a beach bum like me, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.
So far, this has been one of the best experiences of my life. My duties consist of me maintaining our presence on social media, log analytics, create media calendars, ship promotional materials, and other awesome tasks. What I’ve learned from this experience will last me a lifetime. I have learned so many important things from Leah Halverson Brakke, Director of New Business Development. And honestly, anybody looking for a wonderful intern experience should look no further.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Now I can’t tell you the difference between John Deer and Kubota tractors, who knows, maybe one day. But what I can tell you, is that I’ve never seen harder working people in my life. Each day is a challenge and a new adventure. It’s a collection of 11 farms in 11 states, countless offices, all coming together to make sure we put out quality produce to our valued customers. Seeing these amazing people work together to get the job done on a daily basis is truly a sight to be seen. I arrive every day, ready to work, and I leave utterly inspired by them. From top to bottom, every person is integral to keeping things running smoothly, and having the opportunity to be a part of the Black Gold Farms family means so much to me.
I never thought agriculture would become such an important part in my life, but I’m so glad it did. The agriculture community has taught me so much in this short amount of time. I’ve quickly grown to admire the hard work and dedication of every single person involved here at Black Gold Farms. The most important thing I’ve learned is the power of teamwork and what it takes to come together to accomplish a common goal. The life lessons I’ve learned from Black Gold Farms will stay with me for the rest of my life and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to grow here. So, to Black Gold Farms and the agriculture community, thank you.