After a little break for international travel, I’m back at it to introduce you to my very very good friend, Amelia Kent of Kent Farms in Clinton, Louisiana. Amelia and I met while we were in Washington D.C. at American Farm Bureau’s Women’s Communication Boot Camp. We became friends right away and then … we got into the AFBF Partners in Advocacy Leadership program together!
Amelia is just a wonderful person to know. And she has a wealth of information about agriculture and the cattle industry. Having friends across the United States is wonderful, but it means that you don’t get to see them as often as you might like. I’m grateful for the week and a half that we had together in London, Brussels and Paris with the PAL program.
Girls on the Train: Advocacy in Action
We had a real life moment on our trip from London to Paris to test our communication and advocacy skills. Amelia and I (two livestock farmers) sat in a section of the train with a vegetarian. To be more exact… a vegetarian who is completely opposed to animal agriculture, who supports the Humane Society and who’s son operates an animal sanctuary.
Instead of arguing over our differences, we connected over the things we had in common. We talked a little bit about what we do on our farms as well as who we are as people. We talked about society and politics. She told us about a music festival that she founded in Fredericksburg, Virginia and her career as a professional harpist. I talked about my kids and how I like to buy them books and toys when I’m traveling. Amelia talked about being a Wellesley College alumnae and what it was like going from a childhood in Louisiana and Colorado to young adulthood in Massachusetts.
I don’t think we changed this woman’s mind about being a vegetarian. But I do think we helped her see a different perspective on what a livestock farmer looks like and how they feel about what they do. I think it was obvious that we care about our animals and that we take pride in what we do. And I definitely hope she heard us when we cautioned against believing everything she reads on the internet.
It would have been much easier to put on our headphones and ignore them. Or to shut down the conversation once we realized that we’d never get on the same page about animal agriculture. But that’s not what being an advocate is about. Being an advocate is sticking with the tough conversations, opening your mind to someone else’s perspective and being a positive representation of your industry.
Now, the Fun Part
What do you listen to when you’re out working cattle?
When we’re working cattle, there’s plenty of background noise from the cattle and chute. But he commentary that rises above that is quite entertaining.
What’s your favorite cut of beef?
Petite filet, cooked medium rare.
Mascara or lip gloss?
Mascara for me. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t need chapstick multiple times a day…
What’s your best piece of marketing advice?
One of the best marketing tools for our farm is forward contracting load lots. Another successful marketing approach has been networking with other direct marketing farms. By establishing relationships with other farms that are selling directly to restaurants and butcher shops, I’ve been better able to learn who many of the local players are.
Especially for us when we need to be on the farm and not necessarily pounding the pavement, these relationships have proven beneficial as a means to connect our supply with other’s demand.
I’m going to tell you something you might not know about Amelia…
Amelia is an alumna of Wellesley College with a double major in religion and economics. She’s also a member of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion And Research Board. On her farm, Amelia does it all…literally. She’s a full-time farmer, taking care of everything from cattle and hay to marketing and paperwork. AND…Amelia and her husband, Russell, are the 2018 AFBF Achievement in Agriculture winners.
I told you they were pretty awesome 😉
Check them out on Facebook @KentFarmsLA and on Instagram @KentFarms_LA