In his 60-plus years in the profession, Orion Samuelson says he has heard farmers say over and over again: 'we just have to do a better job at telling our story.' But the nationally-renowned farm broadcaster confesses that if producers are truly interested in making their industry grow, they must be the first to take action. Speaking to a record crowd at the kick-off session of the Corn/Soy Expo in Wisconsin Dells, WI on Thursday, Samuelson stressed that the everyday conversations people have with neighbors, at coffee shops and family gatherings are where people really get to know more about each other.
assume that people understand what you do on your farms," he said. "They
probably don't care what time you get up to milk your cows, just like you
probably don't think about what it's like for people in the big city to drive in
rush hour traffic. But the bridge has to go both ways."
Orion, who often
speaks proudly about his upbringing in rural Wisconsin, said it's exciting to
know that science is on the side of agriculture. But he says the 24-hour media
cycle tends to send messages that don't necessarily talk about things that are
relevant. And that makes it even more important for the industry to be ready to
share its message when they are able to.
"I remember watching the news
after Christmas and all we heard about is the fiscal cliff and who's tax rate is
going to be affected," Samuelson told the crowd. "But with the exception of the
ag media, did any of the news programs talk about the implications of not
passing the farm bill? In fact, all we hear now days is about Lance Armstrong.
Is that really relevant?"
His address also consisted of some inspiration.
Orion says in all of his years reporting on the markets, one thing that never
fails is the fact that prices trends never stay the same forever--there's always
a correction in the market.
"The key to proper risk management is coming
up with a plan and having the discipline to stick with it," he advised. "For
example, I hear all too often of people who were going to sell a commodity when
the price hits $15. But when that price finally moved there, they held on
thinking they would try to get just a little bit more. Folks, you have to have a
plan and stick with it or you'll get yourself into trouble."
also reflected on the writing of his new autobiography, You Can't Dream Big
Enough. He says the project was something he had thought about for many
"We all have a book to write... we are writing it everyday from
the time we were born. I would encourage you to jot down some of your own
experiences, even if it's just for your family to read."
includes his experience of dropping out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison
after just three weeks because he was more interested in learning about
broadcasting than how to write. Orion also shared how he came up through the
ranks at local Wisconsin radio and television stations before arriving at WGN in
Chicago, where he has been a fixture since 1960.
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 02/01/2013