Just when I think I’m going to have an hour to sit down and work on a project with a deadline looming just days ahead of me, I get a message from my good friend, Trent Loos, of Loop City, Neb.
I think he has some kind of radar that can detect when I have a few minutes to spare, so he sends me a text or, most recently, a message from his wife’s Facebook account, asking if I’ll be on his hour-long radio program, “Rural Route Radio.” It’s difficult to refuse an opportunity to talk about agriculture, so unless I’m on my deathbed, I usually say yes.
As soon as I tell him yes, I go directly to the coffee pot and get a fresh cup of joe so the caffeine can speed up my thinking. I have to bring my A-Game with Trent on the other end of the phone.
Because I’m from the dairy industry, our obvious agenda is set and he always begins by attacking the promotion end of our industry, saying the per capita consumption of fluid milk has declined. Then he refers to our catchy phrases and cool photos of pro athletes with milk mustaches, and makes the assumption even though we have these unique approaches, we still aren’t doing something right.
He comments, “So, what’s the problem, Melissa? Why aren’t your promotional campaigns effective enough to increase the consumption of fluid milk?”
And then we are off – and if I don’t have a good answer, I move into politician mode, talking slowly and deliberately until the caffeine kicks in and my mind comes up with a good left hook that either shuts him down or changes the subject.
At some point in the radio program, I like to turn the tables and interrogate him. I love putting him on the spot, although it’s difficult to do with a man who has interviewed, spoken in front of, written about or Googled nearly every facet of the agriculture industry.
I rarely get through the entire hour of “Rural Route” without company arriving at my door or having to run an errand or help my husband with something in the barn. As a result, I have to listen to Trent as he complains about my refusal to give him my undivided attention.
Although I really enjoy doing “Rural Route Radio,” I have to wonder about the people driving down the road on the Great Plains where this radio program originates, as they listen to us talk about “four and no more,” milk enemas, the identification of Palmer amaranth and the real agenda behind the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
Do they listen? Are they entertained? Or are we just two friends enjoying conversation? I guess I’ll never know!
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Those with questions or comments for Melissa Hart may write to her in care of this publication.