Do what you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.
I love being a fifth-generation rancher in Nebraska, and I love championing our clients’ brands and telling their stories at my job with Bader Rutter, a full-service marketing and ad agency. I wake up every day excited about what I get to do. I take what I learn from my Angus beef cattle ranch and dryland row crop farm and translate that into key insights for our clients’ marketing efforts. Our agency, the largest in U.S. agriculture, is unique as we have those insights imbedded. That perspective makes our work even sharper. I’ve been directly involved with ranching and farming for more than 25 years — the same amount of time I’ve worked at Bader Rutter. I work on our client businesses that are rooted in agriculture, and it is great to be able to represent the hopes and challenges of U.S. farmers and ranchers like myself.
Recently signed by Bader Rutter and many other companies, including McDonald’s, Danone, Cargill, American Egg Board and more, the Decade of Ag Vision by U.S. Farmers & Ranchers in Action (USFRA) is a promise to:
- Restore our environment through agriculture that regenerates natural resources
- Revitalize our collective appreciation for agriculture
- Invest in the next generation of agricultural systems
- Strengthen the social and economic fabric of America through agriculture
As a producer myself, I am committed to a more sustainable agricultural system and support Bader Rutter’s endorsement of this vision. And I proudly signed it.
Times have changed.
As the times have changed, my fellow U.S. farmers and ranchers have become more sophisticated from a business and technological standpoint, greatly improving food production efficiency and sustainability. Changing consumers’ knowledge of what the industry is and how farmers and ranchers resonate is a great first step in bridging this perception gap.
The industry is no longer just men driving tractors and calving out cattle — it’s also women like myself and my other colleagues who farm and ranch when we’re not doing our marketing day jobs. We are all part-time novice veterinarians, meteorologists, engineers, mediators, commodity marketers, agronomists, farm and ranch managers, world feeders, and influencers. We use advanced technology to produce food for consumers more sustainably with less resources than ever before.
We need to keep sharing our story. I get to do this every day in my job as I work with many others who do not come from a farming or ranching background. More farmers, ranchers and producers need to step up and share their stories so others can understand how we produce food. I’m helping to do this, adding my perspective on the ground level into the campaigns I work on.
Get to know where your food comes from.
In January, I saw the need for a direct-to-consumer beef business during COVID-19. I had the unique opportunity to provide beef from my ranch’s cow herd to consumers across the country.
This pandemic has truly made me think how important it is for people to know where their food comes from. One of the most fascinating things is explaining how we raise beef to people who have no idea where beef comes from. And, if possible, I try to get them out to my ranch and put them to work, opening gates and helping me move and check cattle. It surprises my customers to learn that we’re out checking our cattle every two hours, 24 hours a day, for about two months during calving. In 2021, we did that when it was minus 35 F, and it didn’t get above zero for a week. That’s an extreme example and one I hope doesn’t happen again. But if it does, I know we can handle it. And, if my customers are around at the right time, they can watch how we administer preventive animal health products to the beef that will end up on their plates. This builds trust in the food chain and the agricultural industry that is lacking at times. Through transparency with consumers by sharing, collaborating and explaining, we can create a better relationship between producers and consumers.
The Decade of Ag Vision is only just beginning. Not only is it about building trust but also about sustainability and the promise of being smart and careful with the precious resources that we have.
No matter if you live in rural America or in the heart of a city, agriculturists are everywhere.
They are working hard to supply you with healthy and sustainably produced food, fuel and fiber to make our world go around. It is no secret that everyone must eat, and when you do, I hope you all get to choose what you want to eat because you trust who produced it.
About the Author
Lori Hallowell is a fifth-generation rancher on her family farm. Lori and her husband own a herd of Black Angus cattle and pasture and row-crop land in southeast Nebraska. They also care for Lori’s dad’s cattle, and Paul farms Lori’s dad’s land. Row crops include corn and soybeans. They also put up grass hay and alfalfa and use cover crops. Lori and Paul employ several animal science students from the University of Nebraska — Lincoln.