(Originally Published June 5, 2014)
When someone says they work in the dairy industry, what comes to mind? That they’re out milking cows and feeding calves every day? Or maybe they’re out in the field planting crops. While that it is the case for many, there is an incredible variety of careers off the farm.
June is Dairy month, and I am here to show you how many different ways that men and women are dedicated to making the dairy industry an incredible place. Here is my interview with Emily Caldwell, East Coast Editor with Progressive Dairyman
magazine, who is dedicated to dairy through the power of communications.
Q1. Introduce yourself!
I’m Emily Caldwell. I’m from a dairy farm in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. I’m the East Coast Editor with Progressive Dairyman magazine. The company is based in Idaho, and I work remotely from PA.
Q2. How are you dedicated to dairy?
I write about the dairy industry! I also enjoy being involved in dairy-related activities, such as the Penn State Dairymen’s Club and serving as a volunteer for the All-American Dairy Show. I was recently a participant of Holstein Foundation’s Young Dairy Leaders Institute, where I received media and leadership training for the purpose of being a better dairy advocate.
Q3. Tell us a little bit about your average day in the industry – are there any challenges you face?
I typically travel once or twice a month to cover a conference or interview a farmer. When I’m in the office, I’m usually conducting phone interviews, writing articles and editing submissions from industry contributors. PD has a team of editors, and each editor is responsible for certain topic areas. Some of mine include calf and heifer raising, milk quality and women in dairy. Our team meets twice a month via conference calls and in person twice a year. We share ideas, pass along story leads and divvy up conferences and events to attend.
There’s never a lack of ideas to write about – it’s just a matter of lack of time! So one of my biggest challenges in this career is deadlines, particularly when a print deadline hits at the same time as our e-newsletter deadlines. Luckily, we have a great team and everyone is willing to pitch in to help get an issue done or write content for the e-newsletter.
Q4. What do you like most about your career?
What I like most is that I’m always learning something new. In the topic areas I cover, there is always new research being done and new products being developed to help dairy producers. I feel like I’m doing something different every day.
Q5. What’s your favorite story/article that you’ve ever written?
I most enjoy writing feature stories about dairy producers. I like being able to visit a farm, talk with the producer and find out what it is about their operation or the dairy industry that makes them proud. My favorite piece was about an Indiana dairywoman who battled cancer. She unfortunately lost that battle and passed away in January 2013, but her incredible story of moving to the U.S. from the Netherlands and starting a dairy continues to inspire people.
Q6. If you could tell the public one thing about your involvement in the dairy industry, what would it be?
I think I’d most like to tell the public to not be afraid to ask questions and do their research about agriculture. I have discovered that you learn a lot more by not being afraid to ask the “dumb” questions and starting with the basics than by making assumptions. On the dairy side, I don’t think it is our job to force-feed that information. We just need to be open to having conversations and sharing our story.