“Surround Yourself with Dreamers, Doers and Believers” Advises This Advocate
Always smile. Be kind. Work hard. Stay humble. And never stop learning.
That’s how Kim Bremmer of Greenwood, Wisc., has been signing off from her weekly radio program for 13 weeks.
Last January Kim resigned from her full-time job as a dairy nutritionist to launch Ag Inspirations. Her mission is to inspire farmers to tell their stories, connect consumers with where their food comes from, and represent the great successes in American agriculture today. She travels the country speaking to a number of different groups about modern agriculture.
“Sharing the message about the people and places in Rural America is a step toward re-connecting people to their food,” says Kim. “An industry that feeds you is an industry worth fighting for!”
Ag Inspirations Radio airs at aginspirations.com and through Loos Tales on more than 100 stations nationwide with 3 million listeners on-air and online. Recently I had the honor of being interviewed by Kim, so I turned the table on her and did an interview for TheFieldPosition.
Because Kim is one of the warmest and wittiest people I’ve ever met, I decided to tell her story in her own words by taking a Q&A approach to today’s blog. I hope you enjoy “sitting down” with this agvocate as much as I did!
Q: How did you start advocating? A friend of mine needed help in a CommonGround booth four years ago, and isn’t that what we do? A girlfriend calls and we help when and where we are needed.
Q: Why did you decide to take the leap and start Ag Inspirations? I spent 15 years as a dairy nutritionist, so I know most cows eat better than people! I like to say, “If you have four compartments to your stomach, I’m your chick!” 😉
As I got more involved with volunteering for CommonGround, I wanted to do more to help inspire farmers to tell their stories and connect people with where their food comes from. I was getting more opportunities to speak to groups, but it was taking away my family time and that wasn’t fair to them. I decided to make the big leap and start my own business where I could travel, speak and share perspective from my unique “front-row seat to farming.” I had the opportunity as a dairy nutritionist to work with great farmers of all sizes and types, so I have this unique perspective to share.
Q: Why do you believe it’s important for farmers to share their farm stories? I don’t know that there has ever been a more important time to get involved in the conversation. It seems the story of agriculture is being told by everyone but farmers! There is so much misinformation about farming that it’s no wonder consumers are confused. Farmers have the most important message that matters because they care for their animals and the land like never before and continue to improve each and every day to provide safe food. The miracle of modern agriculture is truly something we should all be proud of and it’s definitely time to speak up!
Q: What is it important for farmers to try to bridge the knowledge gap with consumers? Food companies and restaurants will continue to market products. That’s their job. It’s not their job to educate consumers, whether we like it or not. Unfortunately, fear sells. That’s why it’s more important than ever for farmers to speak up and share the truth. No two farms that are the same and every farmer knows what works and what doesn’t on their individual farm. My biggest fear is that people do not understand the unintended consequences of all the demands they are making on how food is grown and raised. We need to recognize that farmers are the experts on growing our food and I pray every day that I am able to help spread that message in hopes that we don’t regulate our farmers and ranchers out of business.
I truly believe that one person can make a difference, so I take every opportunity available to talk to one person. When my kids are in trouble at our house, the punishment is going to the grocery store with mom. (I shop at 5:30 PM on Friday or Sunday after church. I’ve been known to leave sticky notes on meat packages or engage in conversations anywhere from the meat counter to the checkout line.) I never leave without talking to at least one person!
Q: Did you grow up knowing you wanted to be involved with farming? I grew up on a farm and in 4-H, but I wasn’t interested in doing anything related to agriculture. When I was a senior in high school, my dad slipped into the manure auger at the end of our barn. He was quite lucky and only has pins in his ankle today. My senior year involved a lot of “sink or swim, figure it out” kind of moments on our farm, so our farm was the last place I wanted to return.
When I went to UW-Madison, I began with a major in medical microbiology and immunology. This was right when the show, ER, was popular, and well, I wanted to work with George Clooney! I wanted to be an ER doctor.
But it’s difficult to lose the love of agriculture – even when you don’t think you have it! It was only a matter of time before I found my way to the College of Ag and Life Sciences and began milking cows on the research farm in downtown Madison. I got involved in some really cool research as an undergraduate and met my husband in the ruminant nutrition lab. I helped him do liver biopsies when he was getting his PhD. (He admitted he liked working with me because I knew how to move cows… who knew that would be such an important life skill??!!)
An Ag Journalism degree fit nicely with my Dairy Science degree. Since it only required a few more classes, I decided to double major.
Q: Please describe why your children show dairy cattle. I believe kids who are raised on farms and those lucky enough to spend enough time on one to learn, gain invaluable life lessons about life and death and hard work. We are so fortunate that an old college roommate who has a farm lives close by. My kids, Kayla (12) and Carson (8), love spending the summer at her farm. They get animals ready for shows and help with chores.
It wouldn’t be Friday on TheFieldPosition without a featured recipe, so today Kim is sharing with us one of her favorite meals to make. This chicken and spinach salad is a great way to add color to you plate on a winter’s day. Plus, it can help you stick to that New Year’s Resolution of eating healthy with a balanced diet.