ah-ha moment

This week I had one of those lightbulb, ah-ha moments while in the midst of a 10-day stint on the road.

I've spent my week chasing meetings with more meetings only to be late to the next meeting. I'm in meetings with team members of all levels discussing clients representing all commodities and disciplines. With so many meetings on the docket, I've found myself working in my hotel room late into the night and attempting to get to the office early just to stay on top of things. 

Bottom line: I'm mentally exhausted, y'all.

(insert ah-ha moment)

I love my job. 

I'm exhausted and love my job. 

Wait. Wha? That's not an ah-ha moment. Sure it is! 

 I've never felt more on the brink of something in my professional career. It's happening, you know. The I wishes are my right nows


I think it happened when I stopped to take a photo of the Wisconsin snow. The ah-ha moment, I mean. 

I want everyone to have this moment. I think you can.

On Saturday while speaking at AgChat's Collegiate Conference someone asked me what I've done - as a girl - to get to where I am in a male-dominated industry (ag). 

That blew me away. 

I'm a girl? I've never really thought about it and I've never been treated as such. A girl, I mean.

My influencers have never told me I couldn't do something regardless of my gender. Looking back, I suppose this mindset started by fixing fence, mending water gaps, loading trailers and evolved as I loaded grills for promotional events

Girls, if you're reading this, you're not a girl! You're a human! A hard-working, goal-oriented human. Do you. Make it happen. Don't be your own obstacle. 

Let me be your cheerleader. I'm serious. Send me a 140 or comment below and I'll fill your inbox/DMs/texts with so many random pep talks and inspirational GIFS your head will spin. 

</random pseudo inspirational post >

frozen sunset

Confession: I've been dreading this week in Wisconsin since I booked my flight in December. With each temperature joke from a coworker I've moved the dial closer to canceling flight. Turns out, it's just not that bad up here. 

Maybe I was able to transition into the colder climate with a few days in Indiana? Who knows.

Yesterday, Kelley and I (the official Texas representatives) met up with Ann and her husband to watch the 'hawks take on the packers. With one mention of Carp's Landing in Lake Mills I was all "yes. please. when. of course."

If Lorelei and Rory were to claim a town in Wisconsin as their own, it would be Lake Mills. I can just picture the mother-daughter duo ice skating in the town square, walking to the library on Saturday morning and hanging out at Carp's to watch the game. With it's local crowd, craft brews and quality fare Lake Mill's Carp's Landing is my kind of place. 

And not even because they have Spotted Cow, which, by the way, would be my favorite of the beers.

This lake community is picturesque with its historic homesteads and ice fisherman. Even with a close game we ventured the three blocks to the lake to take in the sunset. It's not often I stumble across a place that has a fighting chance at beating Oklahoma or Texas with their sunset game; however, the setting sun reflecting on the frozen tundra made my heart skip a beat or two. 


The takeaway is sometimes things are out of our comfort zone. Cold weather is literally out of my comfort zone. 

Do it anyway. 

willing wino

I met Dana while serving time in North Carolina and can soundly say everyone needs a Dana Boone in their life. She's the kind of girl who will say "yes" to any adventure and will bring a bag of pizza rolls to girls' night. If anyone could possibly be my spirit animal - it's Dana.

In fact, before I left the 704 Dana helped me use my birthday gift certificate to the Spa at the Grove Park Inn. Related: everyone should chase massages with pizza and beer.

For new professionals - urban or rural - expanding your wine pallet on a budget can be difficult. When Rural Gone Urban got its start I often sipped my box wine from a Joe's cup while solving life's problems on my urban front porch. I wanted to be a wine person, but it was too intimidating.

Wine people can be so snooty, amiright? Fancy words for wine that tastes like dirt. Why can't they [the people reviewing the wine] just keep it real?

Insert Dana Boone.

Here's the deal. Dana is blogging at the Willing Wino with relatable reviews. With her permission, I've reposted her latest review.

I took Xo, G to the beach to see how the patented plastic pods hold up in a variety of situations. These suckers are stuck together, so I wouldn't recommend opening them say.... while you're on a balcony that they could go flying over when they finally pop apart and the force of the uncoupling surprises you into letting go.

These single serve pods come in Pinot Grigio, Rosé, Pinot Noir and a mixed bunch that gives you both of the Pinots in one. Basically, the whole collection is about offering light wines (at a decent price point) that you can enjoy without skunking the whole bottle if you can't finish it in one sitting.

Since creating this video, I did find vague winery/vineyard information on the website. There's still no timing, but the vineyard is listed as being in the "Soave growing region of Verona." So, there you go.

- Dana

dana's three promises to her readers

1. She will never lie to you when it comes to taste. If a wine was "gifted" but "tastes like skunked butt, it tastes like skunked butt."

2. She will always put her reviews in the simplest terms possible. instead of using descriptions like "complex and earthy," she'll try to frame it as "tastes a lot like a sour patch kid that fell in the dirt."

3. She will never turn down free wine. 

follow dana

Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Willing Wino

advocating away from the farm

My Grandpa Compton gave me a farm tour this week. The coolest moment for a granddaughter. 

My Grandpa Compton gave me a farm tour this week. The coolest moment for a granddaughter. 

I've been invited to speak at AgChat's National Collegiate Congress tomorrow in Indianapolis. AgChat? AgChat is an organization created to empower farmers and ranchers to connect with communities through social media. 

I ventured to my first AgChat conference in 2011 and credit this organization to many of my professional contacts and dearest friends.

This organization has evolved past social media account tutorials and now focusses on storytelling and content. 

Tomorrow I will stand before a herd of college students and discuss advocating away from the farm. Known to me as livingCollege students are the most terrifying of species. They know everything. I know this because I was the most basic of college students. 

Because my genes are from Indiana, I ventured to the 317 early to spend a few days working remotely on the davenport while discussing soybean prices and checkoff programs with my grandpa. Meanwhile, my other grandpa started a new blog

Being here (literally, in Indiana) working on tomorrow's presentation has afforded the hamsters a significant about of time on the wheel. How did I get here? This path, man. I couldn't have planned this. 

the three one seven

I most definitely made my way to the National FFA Dairy Cattle Evaluation competition because of these genes. 

I most definitely made my way to the National FFA Dairy Cattle Evaluation competition because of these genes. 

My genes are from Franklin, Indiana. My family has been farming in central Indiana for quite a few years. In fact, my great-grandpa was the Indiana Dairyman of the Year in 1957.

Agriculture is in my genetic makeup. 

In the late 90s, when today's college students were learning to walk and my husband was graduating from high school, my parents decided a life in the west was their jam.

Talk about traumatic for this 5th grade graduate. My parents loaded up a pot belly of commercial cattle, a stock trailer full of our prized processions and drove to Oklahoma where dreams could be made. You know, unicorns, glitter, magic. 

Middle school. Dirt roads. Dirt roads.

Home became Perkins, Oklahoma. 

the four oh five

If there was ever a time to use this photo from the Johnson Co. Fair this is the time. I'm sure I lost. 

If there was ever a time to use this photo from the Johnson Co. Fair this is the time. I'm sure I lost. 

Since the late 90s (when Nick TV was better than Disney), my family’s farm transitioned into more of a ranching operation. With a few thousand acres to run commercial cattle and purebred angus my family fell in love with Oklahoma.

I fell hard.

The life I became to know and love was so different that what I would have had in Indiana. 

Then I fell harder in college. The food system and agriculture's many facets became the thing that made sense to me. I traveled abroad with groups to Nicaragua, Argentina, Scotland, England and France and saw first-hand the different views of the vast agricultural industry. 

After two degrees, I moved the 100 miles to Oklahoma City where I became the pork girl. ( A post to be written by the sportswriter.) 

At OPC, was thrown directly into media buying and marketing promotions. I loved it. I loved telling stories. However, I became very intimate with the gap between agriculture and consumers. I needed something that, at the time, agriculture couldn't give me. I needed to know consumers. 

I mean, I liked consumers. Wasn't I one? To me, the line between the two didn't exist. I'm an equal opportunity human supporter.

My plan: Leave agriculture and return in five to seven years with mainstream media and advertising experience. 

I became the official travel writer and social media manager of Chickasaw Country, which is the south-central region of Oklahoma., and covered concerts, restaurants, stores. 

The. Best. Job. Ever.

Just me and my consumers. Chatting. Exploring. People really liked hearing my stories. They loved knowing I broke ice before school, how my show stock made its way into the herd, what “fixing a water gap” meant.

But, then I met a sportswriter who exported me to North Carolina. Love, man. 

Travis' rural Tennessee background put him on a similar path to mine. However, where I looked for soybean or wheat fields, he preferred baseball or football. 

Travis' rural Tennessee background put him on a similar path to mine. However, where I looked for soybean or wheat fields, he preferred baseball or football. 

the seven oh four

In North Carolina, I joined a prominent advertising agency that worked with clients in tourism, banking, sports, consumer products, commerce, et al. and found myself on the consumer frontline.

Sure I managed social properties, but I also worked with consumers every day.  Until then, I had never been so intimate with a group of humans who were so completely removed from the family farm.

For example, during my interview, an individual in a leadership position laughed as she told me her 6-year-old didn’t know what a cow was. To me, this was completely baffling, but it made sense. How could a child know what a cow was if she didn't venture far from an urban setting? 

My examples could go on for days, but it was like something clicked. I felt like Rocky. My whole life I’d been chasing chickens just I could compare consumers to Clubber Lang. 

That may be a bad example. No fighting necessary. 

the five one two

Only three and half years after leaving agriculture, I've rejoined the team. Go team ag! I serve as a liaison between agriculture and consumers in a vast lineup of commodities and have found a solid niche career in the digital space. 

I live in an urban jungle filled with food trucks, live music and really cool humans.

My life is advocating away from the farm. 

As a work on tomorrow's presentation and pull specific tips, examples and such I'm reminded it's really just about relationships.

  1. Listen more than you talk.
  2. See both sides of the story. (Even if you have to physically go see both sides of the story)
  3. And be you. No one knows (insert your industry/passion/project) better than you do.  

From the 317 to the 405 to the 704 to the 512 and back. 

Tomorrow I talk about sharing agriculture's story in the very place my life began developing its roots. Full circle, man. Full circle. 



work-related travel tips. take 2.

Not too long ago I dedicated Rural Gone Urban real-estate to the topic of work-related travel. Considering I'm sitting in an airport on my way to Wisconsin by way of Indiana, it seemed like an appropriate time to share some of the feedback and additional tips from RGU constituents. 


I prefer Sunday evenings through Thursday afternoon trips; however, my friends Ryan prefers Tuesday morning (or Monday evening) to Friday afternoons.

Ryan Thomas, home brewer, financial something or other and Lindsay's husband:
Travel Tuesday - Friday enables me to wrap up some things [on Monday] before I leave for the week. Then I try and schedule an early afternoon return so my weekend can start a little earlier than normal.

The bottom line is to know what type of work you'll be doing. Ryan spends a lot of his trips with clients. For him, a Monday in the office is what he needs to ensure his week goes as planned. For me, I'm typically at my company's HQ working with team members. I'd rather get right to the action. 

know your schedule

Dan Spears, sports editor of the StarNews and StarNewsOnline.com:
A sidebar to "Protect Your Sanity" is to "Know Your Schedule." Where do you have wiggle room for late meetings, when do you need to be out of somewhere to avoid brutal traffic, what is the absolute drop-dead time that you have to be out of one place to be on schedule to the next, is my maps app/Garmin up to date for the car? There are things that will always be beyond your control, but I like to keep that number to a minimum.

Not work-related travel photos. Blog posts coming soon from New Year's trip to LA/San Diego.

Skip the baggage check

Ray Prock, dairy farmer and awesome human:
A good tip for airline travel and the inevitable delay or cancellation it to not check baggage. By traveling with only carry-on luggage it allows you to be more flexible with flight options that might differ from you original itinerary.

Keri Drake, public relations vp:
As a fairly frequent traveler for business and pleasure, I must second Ray's sentiments about checking baggage. I know many frequent flier friends who still don't subscribe to this and are caught off-guard because their baggage lands in a different city than they do. I would also recommend buying a nice set (or at the very least piece) of luggage that is expandable but still fits within carry-on guidelines. This is a lifesaver and, at times, a game changer. I just purchased a bronze - yes, that's right it's not black - 20-in. Hartmann from Belk and am in LOVE with it. Safe travels!!

I see that client plug, Keri. 

I see what they're saying, but I just couldn't figure out how to get 8 days of winter clothing into a carry-on for this trip. Packing for winter in Indiana and Wisconsin is rough, man.

loyalty programs

Kelly Rivard, SEO specialist:
Always choose customer loyalty. Pick one airline, one hotel chain, and one rental car company to use as often as possible. It helps build up rewards faster AND gains you perks as your work travel increases!

Fact: all Haney fun travel is directly related to points. I see you, Marriott. When I started working at the Oklahoma Pork Council my boss (Hi, Boss Man!) strongly encouraged me to sign up for airline loyalty programs. Solid advice. 

If you're new to work-related travel you'll either sink or swim. No need to worry.