Last week, Facilitator Rose Gorman and I visited the American Farm Bureau conference in Indianapolis, Indiana to record interviews and give a presentation about StoryCorps.
Most of our participants grew up on farms and are now working in offices for their respective states’ farm bureaus. They described their memories of farm life and how the sense of hard work and family is still with them today. One participant told me he’s never understood why some people can’t manage to get to work by 9am. “9am is the middle of the day!” he said. So it was no surprise that events started early at this conference, and that everyone was milling around well before 8am, having coffee, chatting about the day’s upcoming events.
At our presentation I met a few of the still-farmers attending the conference. One gentleman introduced himself, and with a thick Southern accent told me, “I’m a swine farmer.” “Wow, a swan farmer?” I said. He laughed, telling me that I wasn’t the first Northerner to miss-hear him. People used to think he was a poet when he told them he worked with “poultry.”
We were fortunate to have a few pairs of participants sign up for interviews on the spot after hearing our presentation. One of those pairs was LaTanya (LT) and Shellie, who have been working together in Washington, DC for a long time and are now best friends.
LT and Shellie were our only participants not from farming families, and their appreciation for the culture of Farm Bureau was incredibly touching. They both gave thanks for the support that Farm Bureau has offered. LT said, “I just feel as though they will always be my family, and I, their’s.”