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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!

Raising animals is not for the faint of heart, unfortunately there can be days like today that have us on bended knee and asking why.

I got a phone call on my way home from work that one of our cows had lost a set of twins. We had been taking bets on how many calves we thought she had inside of her because of her growing belly.

She had given us a set of twins a couple of years ago and we knew there was probably more than one calf inside of her based on her growing middle. Unfortunately, she wasn’t actually due until the end of May so these babies were born way too early, leaving us wondering why and what could have gone wrong.

So on a day like today I found myself on bended knee as I took the lifeless little bodies to the creek pasture to return them to the earth. I thanked the good Lord for giving us the opportunity to do our part, I asked for peace for their momma, and I asked for peace in our hearts as we struggle and wondered what we could have done differently.

Loss sucks, loss of life hurts us as producers, because there’s nothing better for us than seeing a live calf on the ground drinking from its mother and continuing the cycle of life. We work hard to take care of these animals in the cold, snow,  mud, and on the sunny days, too.

Second, it’s hard for the mama to understand. She is out of sorts and unsure of what is going on. As I watched her tonight, she just wasn’t her usual self.  She did get up and eat though which is a good sign that she is healthy.

Third, there is loss of income, in this case we lost two calves that would have grown to provide us with a paycheck and provide food for other families.

So tonight as I type this I keep reminding myself that this is nowhere near the tragedy that our friends to the west have been facing, but it is is a reminder that not all days on the farm are full of sunshine and roses.  

From the gravel road-

Jen

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