Kady Porterfield | #036


It was a heart sinker via just like when the last few mandates came out for Washington state it was just like. Okay and but you feel so helpless to because there is really nothing you can do. This is the real food real people podcasts. A lot of people talk about how farmers are getting older and older and people are aging out of growing food. It's true. But at the same time I've been really encouraged as I've continued on these journeys all over the state with this podcast. To get to know young people, young men and women who are super passionate about growing food and advocating for other people growing food. That's the story this week of our guest Katie Porterfield who's actually originally from California will hear about her story how she ended up in. Washington. How passionate she is how he's a pro she super professional involved in a lot of stuff very smart and successful person and she has a dream for what she wanted to. She's not actually growing food right now herself but she has a dream in a vision and a plan to eventually be there in the same time we. Talk about some of the stuff that's going on with covert right now to what that's meant for fares. Country Fairs are totally about food and no. I'm not talking about the corn dogs and the snow cones and the cotton. Candy talking about the people who raise food and animals and crops, and that's the foundation. Also, we talk about that too because she's very plugged in without world professionally Katie Porterfield is our guest this week I'm dillon han-kook, and this is the real food. Real people podcast. Again, documenting my journeys to get to know the real people behind our food and our food system all over Washington stink. All the things that you could do with your background in education still plugged into farming. Why is that? What draws you to farming and ranching in this world? It's my roots in. It's my passion. It's going to be my forever I can't imagine any other life stuff that's not focused on agriculture and how it's moving forward into the future and what it does for the world and how it impacts the people who benefit from it but also the people who are in it every day it's it's my way of life. It's you know and I'm really proud of it and it's and it's ingrained into me. It's in my blood. So, what it does for the world, what do you mean by that? Feeding the people, and we still have a lot of work to do with. You know an ever-growing population is just gonNA, keep going and going and people are working so hard to find ways that we can make food better and more efficient to get more food out there for the for the world. So like what kind of stuff what what are you seeing in the farming community while you know there's a lot Of from what I see, there's loss of smaller farms which which is bad but there's also a need always to be growing and moving forward and having to keep up with the times and the whole business climate really plays into and ranching, and that needs to be a huge focus that some people some people don't see. It's sometimes it's just looked out as farming or ranching and not look like as a business. So you know there's ups and downs, but you know my belief is there's a place for everything in the world because they support all different avenues of consumers. There's a place for big place for Small Pacer, her place for conventional place for her Kanak, and so on. I think everyone just works well together and and all of them are solutions and it's great that some people can have choices and it's great that we can do it in other ways that are cheaper for those who might not have any choices. So from what I understand about what you do right now, you're just you're like an advocate in in a lot of different senses right talk about. You have multiple roles around the farming community. Yeah, and so my when I got out a college I know before I go back to the family ranch. Some day I really just wanted to focus on advocacy and I found the fair industry was a great way to do that because you're not only educating the next young agriculturalists of tomorrow but you're getting to connect with consumers that come to your fair that are of you know an urban or suburban population or just maybe not on a former ranch, and so they're only interaction they get with agriculture or like livestock is that a fair that could be the only place all year round the picket that. and. So I've created my six years in this profession just created an even bigger passion for for looking at those two avenues of education and working towards that. But in a broader reach like I I help out in still have hands on stuff for other people's Right now and just as a hobby for me, but obviously, I'm not at my family's ranch and so that fills my time and so in the meantime, I'm working in industry associations so that I can help protect that way of life so that when I'm ready to take over or the next generation ready to pass that down to I want to still be there. So I've involve myself in in different Aga- associations across the state and still back home in the state of California as while I try to keep tied in there to. Really. You like forward view like you're thinking about long-term, right? Exactly. It is and that's that's how a lot of actually farmers and ranchers think I feel to them they. Are Proud and have so much attachment to their operation because it's not only the lifestyle but they do want to leave behind a legacy and they do want the next generate they want to see it continue and that's a big thing you know and sometimes also this industry is feeling is doing proper planning to make sure about those steps can take place, but they still care about it. and. You know yeah that's no different for me and so my involvement in industry associations to be a voice and work alongside people that want to protect this way of life and how we operate so that we can feed the growing population in continue to do. So in the best way possible that at means a lot right now during my during my time not in production. Agriculture. So. Your main job is working with the fair what? What's the? What's the name of your like? What's your job title? That's the kid attests yeah leave fair and Events Center like what's the? Yeah. So the the grounds is now called the Kittitas Valley Event Center went through a rebrand a few years ago because we host events all year round based and and not and just community based. So this fairgrounds is widely used in so it keeps us very busy but our main love and biggest event of the year of course is the Kittitas county fair and Ellensburg Rodeo so I have. A really fun time working with both a fair board and the RODEO board to put on those events because the Rodeo just like the fares also in agricultural education type based event in my mind and so You know it's not just entertainment people learn about livestock, go in and watching the Rodeo and they'd get that interaction and understand that lifestyle. So it's fun to be working with those events simultaneously as they're going on every Labor Day weekend But yeah, we I keep busy a my title is the Event Center Director But yes that falls under facility management and the event. Side of things the interim and I'm fair manager. So does it feel like farming sometimes or does it just feel like an office job? Sometimes I probably both right probably a lot more office than I'd like sometimes you know in previous jobs before I got this position a year and a half ago I was the Agriculture Department manager for the central Washington. State Fair and even though I was still doing office work I was just submerged in the sector only which was a ton of fun and for my First career job that was right where I wanted to be right in my passion, and of course, now, being out a little higher level of position I have to encompass everything of the day to day business. But you know I think it could be transferred over to farming ranching still because a lot of farmers and ranchers, you know they love working in the business and doing the farm and ranch work, but sometimes, the paperwork isn't as much desired, but it's still very necessary to be able to be successful and so. It's probably probably made to make sure that I can can keep the office staff. Office work and I slack off on it. So what does it take to make? The, the CATAS- Valley making sure I'm getting this name Kittitas valley that bear well but but the actual big event Labor Day which is like the biggest event annual event in this whole area right? Kittitas county fair fair and Rodeo what goes into that you're working on that all year to make that happen at on. Labor. Day. All Year round both boards meet and. I meet with both of them and you know the planning and the capital what we're what projects were due to better the fairgrounds and preparation. WHAT CHANGES WE WANNA see getting all of you know winter and spring is getting all of the papers renewed for the next year and all of the new information and planning goes into place and then late spring summer we're working. On getting those things ready around all the events that were trying to host and manage at the same time. But you know it's it does you just gotTa. Pace yourself throughout the year and and make the juggle to make this place profitable and and keep it rolling. Make it valuable year round. What's the event like win? It actually happens awesome like what what, what what all there's Rodeo stuff happening. There's animal exhibits would imagine there's the classic like carnival stuff going beyond describe what vendor. Yeah. it's just it's this fairgrounds for one is beautiful. We're in a great spot in Ellensburg and so how the layout is just really fits and you can like when you're walking through the fair side, you can just hear everything going on in the big Rodeo arena and you're almost just to get in there and get a ticket to go watch because it's it's such a good production that the Ellensburg Rodeo puts on and then on the fair side, you just feel so comfortable and there's because there's so much community and you know between walking from vendor row and through the Carnival and then down to the fair food the boosts are just lined. Up easy access and the animal barns, their historic, and so it they have a good feel going around them but they did go into the big pavilion and see all the kids show every year and we have several show rings going at once all around and so it's it's you can feel the competition going the kids on their face and you walk in, you're like Whoa. Okay. You can feel it in the air. It's pretty awesome. Yeah. I, think in this bizarre year of Cova that's one of those things I'm GonNa. Miss the most I'm such a junkie for fair food now that you mention that I'm thinking about it just thinking about deep fried anything. Wonderful it is. But I you know fair food and fair. You know how fares are connected to the production of food two totally different things and I think people don't think about that part of it about how producing food farming stewarding the land how that's all connected to fairs that happen every I think again, people think deep fried stuff and Rodeos and carnivals right. But I think a lot of people forget Kinda, the roots, exactly the whole fair scene and I think. This year with Kovin, has made people realize what the roots of all fares are truly, and that's the agricultral exhibits and the livestock. This has definitely been a year while it's very challenging for our Youth In Four H. AND FFA and other livestock exhibitors. It's also a huge learning year because it's so practical to the to the daily that other farmers and ranchers and production Africa agriculture have to go through you know market ups and downs and not being. Able to sell an animal maybe and you know luckily a lot of people are working on the virtual options so that the kids can still sell their animals and as a product and the communities are being super supportive all across the nation, which is amazing to see especially because. So many of those are small businesses that have also been so hurt from covid people are just amazing but you know this is this is definitely a learning opportunity for. Those young kids and that's what the experience is all about. It's it's learning how to be in production agriculture and that's what you have to take sometimes and being proud of what you do too. Yeah. Not just farming 'cause. Well, it makes you money or even just because produces food one way or the other, but trying to do a great job of it, right? Yeah. That's what I see. Good quality product out there on the market I mean that's That's what I've always preach is that kids need to realize that and it needs to be ingrained in their programs that you're not trying to show an animal with the longest hair. You're trying to show something that somebody can eat and enjoy and needs to have all the qualities all around. It's really important so much history to that too, and it's such a brutal year this year because again, we most of us are going to think about all the entertainment opportunities that are messed love the entertainment value value of affair. But what you're talking about here's the educational value. and has been such a tough year for education with schools and you know how to keep kids occupied and plugged into stuff, and this is another one of those things that has gone away this year. What what what are what are you hearing from some of those kids his family's farm families that normally show that kind of stuff are they pretty heartbroken? Yeah. You know it's it's something that the whole. Community. Looks forward to every year. We all the fair in any community is when the community to come together and celebrate not just agriculture but being a community and Shoghi showing casing even through local entertainment and stuff what the kids are doing in school you know special dance groups like all those things like everyone gets to showcase their stuff at the annual fair and so you know people are losing. All over in different ways and I think people are just sad that we can't come together and in be together during that time at such a tradition and it's used to always be the thing that was the funding to get off the farm and ranch and do you know that was what traditionally it was all about two and so it's definitely been sad for everyone and our hearts are right there. With them, how hard was it to make that call because I know when a lot of these things were canceled it's been some time ago. Now, a lot of stuff was even more up in the air than it is now right and I know politics involved in all kinds of crazy stuff from all of the people I've talked to on all these events and Fairs and Rodeos across the country it's just They have exhausted all options and tried almost everything they can to try to figure out how to put it on and it just comes down to. There's no safe way to do it or the authority isn't there and it adds absolutely one of the hardest decisions to make and you know I'm I'm glad to see a few fares have been lucky to been able to put on event in everything they had to go through in their region to be able to put a safe event on That's great that they got to do that. But I know in some areas. That's just not possible. What was that like when the announcement was made? What did that feel like to you know this is your year yeah. You do events year round, but this is the big showcase. To have that canceled it was a heart sinker. Yeah. It was just like you know you just Kinda. Our decision here was postponed long enough where we thought we would still have a chance and so our hopes were up for a long time and so it it made a sink back even a little bit further when it finally came to the point when the last few mandates came out for Washington state, it was just like. Okay and but you feel so helpless to because there is really nothing you can do. It's just all right. Now we got to change our mindset. What's the best thing we can do to move forward and how do we get these kids to still be able to sell their animal and in showcase what they've been raising all your long and so even though you know we took a minute to be sad but then mindshift focused and we're focused on planning this virtual fair that we're hosting here in a couple a few weeks and so just has to be quick. You got to be ready for change and and make it happen. So it seems like everything else in life has. Happening on zoom now. So I guess you have to figure out how to do affair on zoom right something like that Yeah Zoom Fair. Obviously it's going to be more than that I know yeah. Yeah. Crazy. We'll see how it all turns out. What about the other organizations that you're involved with I know you're you're involved with the Washington cattle women right correct I am I'm currently the president had been president since twenty seventeen and I'm in my second term now that'll end in twenty twenty, one I joined the Counter Women Twenty, fifteen up here for Washington I've apt absolute blast the ladies appear that our members are fantastic and we have so much fun going. Around doing beat promotion events and working with our state beef commission, and the Washington cattlemen's. There's so many great things we get to do and always looking for new ways we can connect with consumers and meet them and show them our face and say, Hey, yeah, we're raising the beef you WanNa put on your plate or maybe you don't WanNa put on your plate but we'll let you know this is who we are anyway you know and there's a lot of that and we you know we tried to immerse ourselves in all kinds of communities and do different things just to just to get the word out there about beef in that women are highly involved just as. Much as the men yeah, I, think that's a stereotype that a lot of people it's interesting people might criticize that but it if they do, it's probably coming from a place of not being aware it's those you know beef operations are family operations like is there any in I'm trying to think any in this state that's not a family operation one way or the other, and it's you know man woman and child everybody in the family who's available in you know it's everybody but the women are just cooking the food for the Brandon's anymore i. mean they are they are in it or running the show now, and so there is a good mix and yeah, the stereotypes are being broken. But you know it's all about olive everyone working together. So that's been fun and then I've also been a part of the Washington young farmers and ranchers committee through the State Farm Bureau I've been county representatives for quite a few years I in Yakima now for Kittitas and I've been the vice chair of the young farmers and ranchers state committee for two years now. So that's been a really fun group I get to I get to work with and dabble in all kinds of industries working in with people, my age, and it's so great to connect and talk about issues that yeah us as young people want to work on so that to make sure. Our operations or future operations are going to be there for us, and so that's where farm bureau plays a really important role I feel like and I see a lot of value there and but just being involved overall in farm bureau, the I've been learning a lot in there so much more to learn as far as like the policy side and different things like that. For Kittitas county just recently was appointed to their county farm bureau board and they graciously made me policy chair. So now I'm I'm really starting I'M GONNA get to learn because I'm GonNa be the one representing us for that in our county. Explain policy like what kind of policies? What are we talking about? So the farm bureau, we as a state every year we come together and review we have a policy book, and that's where we stand on all agricultural policies that when we go to Olympia asking legislators, four things, we're trying to persuade them on bills that are coming up. That's our policy book we follow that that's where we stand and that guides the State Farm Bureau staff and all of the counties on how we are doing that. But every year we get. The chance to amend and revise an odd and so it's a it's a huge process but it keeps the communication going and helps us adapt us things change and how we see the industry moving and so I've I've only been involved in it recently, but it's so far. It's a fun process and I'm learning a lot from it back to stereotypes just thinking about this like again, the stereotype is the farmer or rancher is usually an older man. You're a younger woman. What's that like being in that world? Do you come up against that sometimes? Sometimes yeah. Even you even in this industry I think you know it's it's there's a little bit on both sides that I can see that I'm kind of involved in but overall I also see a lot of support ilise. You know most of most of the older generation are starting to understand and most of them actually get it. There's only there's only a few that maybe. Aren't quite with the Times or don't see all of the positives that can come out of the newer generations maybe but it's actually really encouraging to see I mean, for example, you know just working with not necessarily older man, but you know some older women, cattle women ten. Tend to be mostly older women because a lot of the younger woman are too busy on raising families and they're not really immersing themselves in volunteer activities but you know these women in the cattle women are just outstanding and right away. They accepted me and there was like no stereotypes about age or anything I mean it was just awesome and then they then they put me as their president after only being there two years like are you sure? But they're so sweet and so I know that that that stereotype overall getting to work with the CATTLEMEN's association. You know it's there. It's people realize the stereotype isn't valid anymore. I guess so it's good. It's good to see. So where do you come from? You mentioned back home in California what was that what what you grew up in the farming ranching world? Yeah. So I grew up on a beef cattle and Hay ranch right along the California Oregon border in the Klamath Basin just on the California side of the border little town called doors California's where I went to high school My family's been ranching in that valleys since my grandfather was seventeen and but there is six generations of my family have been cattle ranching. I'm the six actually. So I'm very proud of that and I do want to see seventh come and you know some day I think that's that's really awesome but Yeah little tiny town. You know I graduated with a class of twenty nine and so I I come from really small background but there's tons of farming and ranching back home, and so that's that's where my heart lies for sure is cattle ranching and that way of life and. I call mom and dad almost every day and ask them what's happening on the ranch and try to keep tabs on them. You know just don't WanNa get disconnected. While I'm working on some other career goals. So so what's ranching life lake then like what what did you grow up doing every day on and around the ranch and farm only on so many things You know other than caring for the animals you know but we we learned how to run hey equipment to and all of that but my favorite stuff was you know getting to go to Brandon's and go to GRANDPA's Brandon's and all those kinds of things cattle drives were still they're still thing and those were some of my favorite days and just going and writing the range ground we lease a lot of range ground For our cattle being higher desert climate you need a lot a lot of acres to cover and so lottery adding and I still you now have horses and writing is still heavily involved in my life today and also but you know feeding I have pictures of me on a feed truck when I was like three years old with my dad feeding cows, and some of those are my favorite like childhood pictures and. but you know there's like a whole side of it that I'm now trying to learn that maybe I didn't take advantage of more when I was younger and that was the the paperwork side of it, and my mom's always done such a good job and she just puts nose to the grindstone and that's Always, going out and doing doing the work when you're younger. But some of my teenage years are probably wish I could learn a little bit more from her on that side at the time but you know it's you keep busy. That's for sure and then you know when you start getting involved in four H and then all spring and summer, you're raising your own livestock on top of it and all of that, and when you got bummer calves that don't. You know we. Ll MOMS or or whatnot, and so me and my sister were always in charge of raising the bottle babies and feeding them every day and you know so all the creditors was fun some people you know there's controversy of courses I'm sure you're well aware around beef and raising animals any sort of anwr allegra culture for some people but you talk about things like cattle, drives, and branding and stuff. Some people aren't familiar with how it works. Let's cruel or why do you have to do that? What's your response to that kind of stuff because I know a lot of people are really curious like what is that? Is that kind of stuff necessary is bad. Is it good and they're not sure what to feel about it and it's understandable because when you don't have that background and you see that I can understand where the concerns will lie but if it's done right and properly You know it's definitely the best for the animal in the long run. It's just like anything you know giving vaccinations or anything like that. You know most people we've accented ourselves. We vaccinate our kids. We do things for the health of them in the long run, and what we really try to do is make the stressful time as short a period of possible and as easy on them without causing any pain or anything like that. There is some when. There's some short term stuff, but it's very quick and then they're off and eating back with their mother immediately. So you know, yeah, it does look bad in some cases but really. You know it's done the best way possible in most cases, and there's a there's a new program called Beef Quality Assurance. That's a national program and like eighty percent I think of ranchers are. Gone through that program of completed the certification and that goes through, you know how to properly vaccinate proper vaccination areas and anything as far as handling animals and keeping them as low stress as possible in any situation of moving them or anything like that, and you know cattle, you just gotTa for me. It's about reading their body and their language and every cow is different. You know you gotta be ready but also you know there there tough animals they are built for. Different climates and era and like they can. They can outstand a lot more than what people think and there are a lot bigger and stronger than than US humans and So you know it's it's there's a lot of cows can be really dangerous. But really. It's. It's about finding that working relationship and really working on your stockmanship. I, think it's it's been a big push of my parents with US growing up and I can t continue to see growing in the Industry today, which is amazing. So using a lot of the beef that's produced in this country is produced with those kind of values that that you were raised with. Yes I mean I. Being involved especially with the cattle women in going nationally and being involved with American National Cattleman as well and getting just to see how people are all across the country and the programs that are happening and seeing the stats these cattle are are transitioning in there. They're just so much better off than they were You know thirty years ago the advancements the industry has made or just I'm blown away at how in a short amount of time on all levels we can become better and that we're still working on getting better and finding new ways we push ourselves we don't need regulation to push us because. The things we do and keeping the animals, low stress and handling well, and all of that all adds to the productivity and product that we put in the better product. We have you know the more profitable. So it's very advantageous for ranchers to put those types of programs into place or those those types you know had those skills. Though they'll see it on their bottom line, how how can people know if they can trust the beef that they're buying the store that they're getting at a restaurant that they're eating roy? Is there a way to know? What's because people are more and more concern to how we want to make sure the food that we're consuming is healthy and his ethical. Yes I know that no, no product that's unhealthy at least is going to be put on the shelf ever. You know it's not everything you're going to be able to purchase, and by is GonNa be completely safe for you to eat but as far as if if you believe. In the case. Yeah. Yeah and I saw some stuff at the gas station the other day in a package. Yeah. I I wasn't so sure maybe not gas stations. Create them pills or something that's legal. Didn't I don't know. Man. So but as far as if you really want to know where your meat is coming from I highly suggest you know finding a local source whether it be even regional or anything like that and finding there's so many ranchers and farmers transitioning to being able to sell value added in on a local market, rather than through the large conventional chain through the grocery stores, and so that's that's great because then you get to know the person or farm ranch that's raising your food and So but overall the from what I've seen from the reports that I've that I've heard given at some of these conventions. Stuff that is being raised and put into the grocery stores is becoming better and better and better raised they the beef Quality Assurance Program House ways to actually test and has markers that show how that animal product is has been affected. So and if it's If, it's really bad or something is wrong with it, you will not see it and it won't be sold to you. So if something devastating was to happen to the to the Animal Carcass, what do you see yourself doing in ten, five, ten, twenty years whatever the timeline is for you like it sounds like you eventually see yourself back as a part of the family ranch in California what what do you want that to look like? Well from recent conversations and transition planning with my family, you know the the ranch transition can happen as early as probably in another decade you know fifteen years, but I'm always I've always had the mindset. You just gotTa Kinda see where things are when it comes along You know it's great to have plans but don't plan on them too hard because I'm sure someone up. Above would would change that plan. If you plan to into view were dead set on it, it would get changed for you That's happened a couple times to me so but you know it's I see myself definitely in the fair industry and even when I go back to the family ranch luckily there's your some amazing fares back home to, and in some way I would find. Out How to be involved in in the industry still because the value is there you know on so many levels there's so many positions you can have whether you're fair staff and management or fair board director or just a volunteer superintendent for H leader. There's so many ways you can contribute to the fair industry and make a huge impact So that's always going to be there i. Feel like I'm always going to have the two industries immersed Even if they flip flop, which one is the daily priority. They're both very important to me and I'm realizing I forgot to ask you earlier like talk about your educational background to you. You talked about going to high school class of what what did you say like? Twenty nine, twenty, nine yeah. In sixty four exchange students so. Tiny little school. After high school. So I actually went to the state. University. Of New York at Cobo Skill College of Agriculture and technology. It's a little bit of a mouthful but I went there because I had a passion to also play college sports and so I was looking at d. to indy three schools across the country in there was some there's some good schools. I went back and visited in New York and It turned out that their agricultural business program was really really really good and We'll start out from from kids kids all over the northeast. That's their big powerhouse school back there even though at the smaller school compared to some of our schools out here on the West on the program is about the same as the AG programs. Here in the West, just a smaller school for the rest of the decrees. So you know I, found that really interesting and lucky for me that school wanted me to play two sports for them. Instead of just one I was GONNA ask what we're talking about De tuned. Three sports. Well, what what sport what what's your thing? So I got to play volleyball and basketball for Suny. Cobo Skill Tigers. What what was your? What's your number one? If you were going to do one? What was it going to be? That's what everyone asks me and I couldn't decide I was like I don't know I have to wait for the best opportunity like if I choose one, then I'll end up having to play the other. You know it was just like. Thing, I, Love Them. Both was so blessed to be able to get to play golf and have a awesome experience in college getting my agricultural business degree and it was just like the three legs of the stool were there, and that is where I sat and landed and it was such an amazing experience because I was, of course, the only kid from California almost in the entire college and the only kid from California, in the AG program and so all of my college classes. I got so much engagement because my professors and other students would be asking me my perspective being a California kid in agriculture being so huge in California and all over the West Coast I got to be a huge part of those conversations with just enhanced the learning that much more and so that was a ton of fun and it's I'm glad I'm glad that I got to experience another side of the country to learn how different agriculture is because that just helped me have a better understanding overall. So so what positions did you play? In basketball, I was a center and volleyball. I was an outside my freshman year, and then a middle for the remaining years. So which is always the positions I were and high school as well. So yeah, you still play much. since I've moved to Ellensburg, I used when I was in Yakima used to play volleyball in an adult league all the time, and that was a lot of fun and I continue to play in spokane's who fast largest three three in the world and so that's a lot of fun I was really sad it was canceled this year but I do try to keep playing and So hopefully, I will find more time to to keep going and hopefully once all this cove over in sports can start again I'll be looking forward to that but I'm also learning new hobbies. Learning how to break away rope and so I'm trying to try a new sport, and so that's been a lot of fun to, and you know something as as I h you'll have to learn how to do something different. My Body can already feel all those years hitting the gym floor in basketball or you know something like that. So yeah, and I wasn't a great sports player but I do think about some of the sports stuff that I dabbled in in high school wasn't good enough to play after high school but. Some of the things they did realizing how bad it would hurt. Now if I did not say things took those same hits that I took football or Man It's crazy to think he doesn't hasn't been that many years am I really getting that old yeah can't be that old just hit that stage where I'm like Oh that long ago I was just started realizing that like the last year yeah not fun. So, what's your next move going to be your here? Do you do you want to do this for quite a while yet or you said it could be like a decade or more before you WanNa you WanNa, take over the ranch then in Kennedy head Honcho and take it over from Europe. Do you what about siblings you have siblings? Yeah. Yeah. Actually for the yeah I just had a conversation with my sister last night on the phone and we were. Talking about stuff and We're both looking forward to working together we will. We will have joint ownership of of the family ranch and I know both of us have the same passion and even if we spent our entire childhood fighting. Like no other we're in a place now in our adulthood heard, we're like, okay, you know this is there's a lot of pride here and we will have the same goals in. Yeah will it'll be it'll be a joint it'll be joined effort and but I'm looking forward to it. So we'll see how the time line. At all we'll. We'll probably fight. There will probably be some businesses that don't lineup. But that's typical and not that's how family operations are guess it's a whole nother ballgame. So a lot different than other businesses that's for sure. But. Separate that because he's still want to be family and hopefully friends. But if you're working together at the same time, I, don't think there's an answer for it because what have wives and husbands done for all these years I mean, they still struggle they haven't been able to figure it out the you know they're. A lot of them stay together but they so they figure out that much but it doesn't stop them for fighting about the farm and rich. It's it's just it's sometimes you don't agree and it is it's a challenge to separate your personal and business life when your personal and business life or Your Life Lake. Their ingrained together. There's no separation but that's again probably back to why farmers and ranchers or so passionate and love their lifestyle at the same time because you get to do with your family to, and it's what you love and you can do it together in a lot of other businesses. You know it's you don't get the entire family to to get to work with you. So yeah, it's it's unique. It's double edged sword. And that's been my experience growing up on a family farm as well. There's amazing things about it and they're really hard things about the interpersonal stuff and dealing with conflict even though if you grow up doing. I think unless you really get into some bad habits, you learn how to do that along the way and you're I mean yeah. Like my sister and I you know we have we went to different schools and you know we have different teachings and all of that, and you know but I think there's there's things that I know that could benefit and there's things that she that she knows that could benefit. If we bring those together I think the strengths we have will outweigh a lot of the you know things that we might have to work through but that that'll happen any at any place of business. You know it's just working through those and. And handling the conflict resolution correctly which. When it's family sometimes, it's not that easy but it'll be it'll be good. I've been there I know. Does that make you nervous at all? I know when I've thought and I'm not really in a position to do it right now. But thought about like taking on the family you know taking over continuing on the family farm it's like I seen a lot or most of it but I'm just I. It freaked me out to think what if that's all that all that responsibility on my shoulders could. Oh? Yeah. No, it's. It's definitely something if you start thinking about it too much. You do get nervous and that's one thing reason probably why call my parents every day and that probably drives them absolutely crazy. But unlike I don't want to like slip up and like real I learn a month later you guys are doing something you know. That I had no idea like, how am I going to prepare for that and so it's been it's been important for me to know the business plans moving forward and you know they get they get really busy and just getting everything done because it is a busy life. You have a huge to do list every day and Then you have your, this is late to do. And and so trying to pull that information in stay up to date is is difficult or to try to learn, and so my hope is that I will have the opportunity when we're ready to place a transition that there will actually be you know a time where we can learn and in person and really get a handle on things and so we'll see you. Know we never know what the plan is from from the other wonders of the world, but we just to be be prepared and have the best plan that we can what's been over your years of either being on the farm when you were or connected to on the ranch way from the ranch what's been the most challenging part keeping that whole thing going I mean. Free parents for yourself. You talk about being tough, but you know like. What's it really like when it gets difficult? I think for me is just like understanding all of the processes as far as what has to be done in the background not necessarily like. You know I. It's easy to probably pick up working in the ranch because that's what I grew up doing but learning all the stuff that goes I, know how to run a business but learning all the intricacies that are specific to our ranch and all of the needs and paperwork because the rules in agriculture. So different than like what time handling, Murnau the basic elements but just the overload of of different things that you have to know and filling out the right. Paperwork permits whatever it is taxes all that stuff. You know that's that's what I'm probably most. About 'cause I can't learn that without doing it and it's you know my my mom holds all of that information. So it's like You know how do you slow her down to try to to try to ask her understand? She's amazing at record keeping and bookkeeping, and that's the thing it just so detailed and so trying to try and hopefully. With the records there I can learn quickly but it's learning how to do it right and keep it moving without making a mistake. I think the toughest thing for me the scariest thought is probably making a big mistake that costs the ranch a big dollar hit because that does happen in transitions to so we'll we'll discuss A. Best and work towards that. But you know all those all those stressors are I guess I don't I the toughest thing for me like right now is when there's so much going on and I'm so far away and I can't just go and help during the weekend or something like that. You know there's a million things going wrong every week and you know just just how it is that's normal but but I'm that I'm not there and not there. John just to help. But just to support my parents like emotionally as you know and and just know that they have there in that we're going to be there and you know my sister same thing she lives south. And so it's it's hard for both of us and but we go home and try to visit when we can and in catch up and but being away from family is is really hard for a lot of reasons. So well, the whole idea of me having conversations like we're having here is to kind of re connect people with the people who are growing food that were all eating I am the store what would you say what's what's your message to people who aren't really connected with farming? What do they need to know to kind of bring this whole thing back together you know bring the the different communities back together in sort of a mutual awareness and appreciation in our food system. Yeah. I would say is don't be afraid to reach out and learn about you know people farmers and ranchers may be in your area where you could start the information's out there, and the industry is not putting out false information to like the production side of the industry is is really pretty trustworthy and we we want to give you the right information and show you how we do things and why we do things and You know we want to make that connection to. That we want you to feel comfortable because you know we're eating the same food that we're raising that. We're trying to serve to you too and We're we're definitely not out their goal is not to harm anyone we want to do. What's best for the people of the world and care for our animals along the way and give them the best quality life that they can have until they fulfilled their purpose and and that's what it's all about very cool stuff and and coming from a really cool story I don't know to me someone saying that means so much more when it's from someone like us, you've lived it. You've seen it and not only. Have you been around, but now you advocate for as a professional So that's pretty powerful like yourself to say, and there's so many avenues now on facebook bigger. So many amazing advocates out there that I look up to that are sharing stuff all the time all over facebook and really even if you're not connecting face-to-face with people in person or local people research and try to find advocates online because they're sharing real stories. To and they're readily available to talk to you about issues and they have amazing answers that will that will hopefully Completely you know give you a better understanding of of what you're concerned about an it's just amazing what they do and what they're able to to promote on what they're doing in their everyday lives and I. It's hard to have the time to do all the farming ranching and then get on social. Media and do all of that too. So our older generations have a terrible time doing it because it's it's new and they're used to what they're doing, but the younger generations and are stepping up and they're really good at it. So don't be afraid to find find them and talk to them even through facebook that's what they WANNA do. We want to talk. Yeah. I think our generation in particular is really bad at lying. Like, yeah, we're open books. I. Think in a Lotta ways we're used to being out there. We have have had social media as a part of our lives for quite a while now. And we value authenticity and we want to be understood and we want to share what we're doing because we think it's really cool and we want you to think it's cool to and and know that it's it's all for the for the betterment of everyone. Well, I think what you're doing. Cool. And I really appreciate you doing the podcast. Yes. They'll thank you for having me. This has been a lot of fun. This is the real food, real people, podcasts. These are the stories of the people who grow your food. Okay Katie is somebody we need to keep tabs on right like already done a lot of cool stuff but she has a vision and hearing her passion for what she does and her clarity into the future. What she's going to accomplish really gets me pumped for our future at a time. When we're told Oh, we're supposed to be depressed about our food system and things are bad not necessarily and things are getting better and things can be good and the people the new generations coming in have such passion and drive to to make changes and go in a positive direction. Really awesome to hear and see. Thank you for joining me here on the real. Food Real people podcast I'm Dillon Hongkou P- grew up on a farm in Western. Washington and after years in media I decided I want to share the stories of the people that I grew up around the communities that I still have some connections with and so I'm traveling all over the state to connect with those people get to know New People and share that with you and allow you to be a part of and more connected with our food system. The real people growing our food. I'd really appreciate it. If you followed us on social media on facebook instagram and twitter subscribe to the podcast and check us out on Youtube as well. As always, the website is real food real people dot org and you can email me anytime dylan at real food real people dot org the real food real people podcast is sponsored in part by stay family farming, giving a voice to Washington's farm families find them online at safe family farming dot org and by dairy farmers of Washington supporting Washington dairy farmers, connecting consumers to agriculture in inspiring the desire for local dairy find out more at Wat dairy dot Org.

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