Once upon a time, a group of young ag journalists stood on the balcony of a hotel in South Padre Island. We were there for the Farm Progress Companies annual meeting. And yes, those were flusher times in ag publishing, and was the first and last time I traveled on such a glamorous trip. Now, our meetings are decidedly more low-key and Midwestern.
At any rate, as I recall, about four of us stood there together, drinks in hand, the warm ocean breeze blowing gently, and Shannon Linderoth, who was then our Dairy Producer editor, said something I've never forgotten: "You know, for a group of farm kids, we're not doin' too bad."
Truer words were never spoken. We nodded. We were four young people, straight off the farm, degrees in hand and dream jobs to do. And we'd landed in a career path that had already given us some pretty sweet opportunities.
It's that exact thought that runs through my mind as I'm packing my bags, and preparing for another trip. By the time many of you read this, I'll be aboard a plane, on my way to Stockholm, Sweden, for the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) Congress. Even better, I'll get to arrive a few days early and take part in the Alltech Young Ag Journalists Boot Camp, designed to equip and train young agricultural journalists from around the world.
The short version of this story is that I was selected as one of 10 young ag journalists worldwide last year, and was to attend the same Congress, held last year in Canada. But my mother's health at the time prevented me from attending, and Alltech, the Boot Camp sponsor, graciously allowed me to defer my attendance to this year. Even better, they went ahead and selected another U.S. journalist for 2012, which means I get to travel with my wonderful friend and cohort, Christy Couch Lee.
So, Christy and I will soon be meeting and rubbing elbows with some amazing young people, who are passionate about what they do and want to learn more about sharing the message of agriculture in their country. I read their bios and am awestruck. Continually.
And so it is. Another opportunity. Another reminder for this southern Illinois farm girl that, in Shannon's timeless words, "we're not doin' too bad."
Check back throughout the week, as I plan to post updates throughout my trip, sharing photos and stories of the people we meet!