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17

An open letter to my husband, my family and farming friends:

I see you.

I see you checking your phone to see what the weather is going to do, what the markets did, and what the latest news story is on your profession. I see you praying silently at church and wonder if you are asking for a rebound in the markets or are just thanking our Lord for a healthy family and a roof over their heads.  I see you teaching the next generation how to conserve and care for the land because it is the only one we will ever get. I see the worry in your eyes when more severe weather is on its way. I see you looking up to those that have gone before you seeking or at least wondering what their advice would be.


I hear you.

I hear you cussing and becoming short-tempered as Flood Creek is once again teasing the edges of her banks and threatening to rip out the fence that your family spent hours putting back up after her last rage.  I hear you (under your breath) asking, “Why do we do this?” But then I see the grin on your face when a healthy calf hits the ground. I hear your frustration when parts break and machines quit working. 

I smell you.

I smell the sweat from a hard day's work that often starts before the sun comes up and ends when the stars are out. I smell the manure that you are hauling to fertilize our fields and to create a comfortable, clean space for our animals.  I smell the fresh cut hay as it lay waiting to be baled to feed our cattle and provide income for our family.

I feel you.

I feel the pain that you’re feeling when you turn the other cheek to a critic about your profession or those people blasting comments about taking the insurance check.  I feel your frustration when that heifer we set up the perfect artificial insemination protocol for came back into heat or when the rain came right before our intended hay baling date. I feel you tossing and turning at night, unable to sleep because you are thinking about what to plant and how much grain to sell and thinking about how you will get it all done.

I taste you. 

I taste your hard work in the meat that you raised and the crops that you produced when we sit down at our table to enjoy a meal with our family and friends. I taste the blood, sweat, and tears that went into creating every ounce.

To all farmers, ranchers, and farming families. I see you. We see you. I see you because I am standing behind you every step of the way.  I keep it my goal to stay positive for our community, share what life on our farm is like, to provide a strong arm to hold you up when you want to fall and to encourage you to keep going when you feel like stopping.

Do you see us? Do you see what the farmers and ranchers are trying to do? I challenge you to make sure you are truly seeing what is going on around you.

I see you, from the gravel road-

Jen

I am so excited to introduce you to another guest for What Inspires You Wednesday tonight! Meet Alicia...

I’m sitting at gate 21 at the Minneapolis airport waiting for people to deplane so I can get to my next destination. It’s mid-morning on a Thursday in February and the airport is bustling with spring breakers. There’s only standing room left and I was lucky to find a seat. The man to the left of me has a suit on and ear buds in, the other man to the left of me is traveling with his wife. He asks me about Hoover’s Hatchery. I’m wearing a branded pullover because 1. I only purchase simultaneously the most comfortable and business casual apparel and 2. I hate packing more clothes than I will ever wear causing me to drag and extra heavy bag across all the gates and terminals, and 3. My Hoover’s apparel currently outnumbers my “street” apparel. I work in marketing, whatever.

I give him my typical elevator speech, “We’re a small hatchery in northern Iowa that supplies and ships baby chicks to farm stores and customers nationwide.”

I get the typical response, “Really!? You ship chicks nationwide? Wow! How does that work? I mean, they make it??” I look at him and know that he’s seeing the familiar small grin that forms on my face each time people ask me this very question.

The joy and amazement that people get when they learn about baby chicks, the hatching and shipping process, and how we support farm stores in their mission to supply customers with backyard poultry keeps me going every day. My job isn’t a job, it’s an opportunity to support and educate others that they too can raise their own animals that give them breakfast. They too can learn the ups and downs about animal agriculture, and hopefully someday have a greater appreciation for those that raise animals on a larger scale.

The hardest question for me to answer by far is, “So what do you do at Hoover’s?” A job title to me is just a title. I don’t like job titles, it seems like no matter what position you’re in, you always feel like your title never justifies all the other work you’re helping with. That expectation should just come with working at a growing company.

So, what do I do? I’m the marketing manager, and here at Hoover’s part of that means managing our fantastic customer service team and arming them with tools and the ability to serve our customers in the best way possible. We have tough days, and difficult customers, but I couldn’t ask for a better team to help solve their problems. We’re in the business of putting smiles on people’s faces when they get a happy peeping box of baby chicks, and its our job to turn their day around on the rare occasion that things go wrong.

I work day-in-and and day out promoting our brand and defending it. Every day I wake up at 6 and check my email on my phone sitting on my nightstand. I glance at my calendar and start mentally making lists. Sometimes, if I see I have a flurry of notifications I’ll check social to make sure everything is right in that world. I get ready, get my two girls out the door/dropped off, and head to work.  I get to work and dump my mental list into my planner. I live by lists. It’s the only way I can prioritize and make sure I haven’t missed anything. I open my email and take care of the “quick kills” to make me feel like I’m accomplishing things. Usually by 8:30 other items have come up that our team is looking for help with, and my day has officially started. This is why I write things down, usually by 8:30 my day is completely full of distraction, and that’s just life, its ok, we’re keeping customers happy, remember? It is our number one priority.

The other things I do that aren’t so day-to-day include creating email campaigns every other week. I’m the editor of our blog and I communicate regularly with our team of writers. They truly are chicken crusaders that give our customers information about troubleshooting and raising chickens. I check and schedule social posts out, and make sure that we are following our content calendar.  I come up with new and different ways to interact and reach our customers and many, many more things wherever our brand is represented. When you look at my job under a microscope, each task seems so trivial, but when its all put together into a big puzzle throughout the year the real magic happens, all those little projects  and day-to-day tasks come together into one big canvas that becomes our brand voice and story.

Our spirit of ingenuity here at Hoover’s drives my hunger for more each day. No two days are alike for me, and the promise of each of those days being different keeps me going. What inspires me is my love for the Hoover’s brand, the promise of a better tomorrow through our ingenuity, and the hustle it takes to meet our customers needs.

Thank you, Alicia, for sharing what inspires you!

Be sure to follow Hoover's Hatchery on Facebook and check out their website! It's where we get our chicks and they never disappoint!

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