CRI Cooperative Meeting.

Tell your gosh dang story.
It's why I flew to Minneapolis last week to the 2015 CRI Annual Delegate Meeting.
CRI is a cooperative that owns Genex, AgSource and MOFA

Each year CRI's delegates gather for a day and a half of meetings, break out sessions and discuss the future of the co-op.  This year, they also hosted an international group of visitors at the same time so there were 300-ish people in Minneapolis for the conference.

I was asked to come back and host two breakout sessions about Social Media with Carrie Mess.

I'm not sure I was qualified, but I figured it was a chance to get a break away from the ranch during calving (2 whole nights of uninterrupted sleep in a hotel room!) and meet some new people.

Somehow Lindsay Johnson had to have known when she asked me to speak last Fall that I would need this conference in the fourth week of January. 

Known that calving would have zapped everything out of me, and that I was going to need a few days away to recharge. 
And that's exactly what I did.
I had fun.
I laughed.
I met Dairy Carrie and Amanda.

I slept.
I had a few beers with new and old friends.
I sang my heart out during the Tuesday night entertainment.
I clapped.
And I told my story.
Those of us involved in the ranching & dairy industries have a fabulous story to tell.
We're hard working people, who are honest and ethical, and who raise quality livestock that produce nutritious products.

We're living the American Dream.

And we need to tell our story.

 Because if we don't, someone else will for us.


So that's what I shared last week in MSP.

 That you don't have to be a big operation, or famous, or really good with grammar to get out and share your story.  Carrie followed up with her story and a few reasons why social media is so powerful.

And in between our sessions - I tried to enjoy all that the conference had to offer!

Dairy farmers & a beef farmer from New York!

Brad Johnson giving a presentation about PregCheck - such a cool new innovation!

Lindsay {army crawled} across the stage to provide a little technical help - she is a ROCKSTAR!

Fun at lunch with Amanda & friends!

Doug giving the CEO Update - He's a Packer's fan and started out the meeting with a funny joke!

Enjoying the CRI Business Session

And along with all of the business & breakout sessions that CRI hosted, they also knew how to have a little fun.  Tuesday night they started the evening out with a gorgeous cheese, fruit & vegetable spread and drinks.  Then came a wonderful steak dinner and dueling pianos! 

Oh. My. Word.

They were hilarious!

I sat with Lindsay & Brad, Amanda, Ludwig and Sergio and Justin in the way back of the room and we just had the best time!  We sang along, clapped our hands, pounded our fists on the table and swayed with candles & boots.

Hey - they were singing Garth Brooks' "I've Got Friends in Low Places" and it felt appropriate.


It was the best way to cap off a great day.

And then I joined my friend Jake Peissig (from my FFA days in college), along with four of his dairy farming friends from Wisconsin for a beer afterwards. Pretty much the entire CRI crowd took their party pants on down to the hotel restaurant/bar and everyone stayed up visiting until midnight.

I had the best time.

And while I went into the conference feeling a little nervous because my story isn't any different/better from anyone else's - I left it feeling empowered and rejuvenated.

The story we all have to tell is important. 

The world HAS to eat - and we're in a place where we can help make that happen.

We should all be proud of what we do!


The only bad thing about the whole trip?

I had to fly home on a University of Oregon {Ducks} plane.



 The flight attendant consoled me by saying at least I didn't have to look at the green & yellow while we were flying.  There's a silver lining everywhere!


So, what are you waiting for?

Get out there and tell your gosh dang story.

People want to hear it.


  1. It's cool to be related to someone FAMOUS! :)


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