I grew up with a clear view to the west. My back yard ran right into a field. They were on a two-year rotation cycle, of white corn and soybeans. It wasn’t our field; my family had long since stopped farming in my hometown, and only had the cattle and alfalfa up north at my uncle’s place. However, that field was a consistent fixture in my childhood. We flew kites there, after and before harvest. Those midwestern mainstays, corn and soybeans, have played a role in my life since the very beginning. I’ve spent summers scouting corn, I’ve run auger wagons during harvest. I’ve helped during planting and I’ve blogged all about the Illinois corn industry.

I am such a stereotypical midwestern farm girl. I’m broadening my horizons, though. As I write this, I’m sitting in a house outside of Sacramento, California.

Back in January, I received an offer for an internship for AdFarm, a marketing and communications agency that works exclusively in agriculture.

When I took the job, the location was still a bit hazy. I was sure I was going to end up in either their Kansas City or Fargo offices. When my supervisor told me I was going to California, I was beside myself with shock and excitement.

When you grow up in the land of grain, California agriculture becomes a bit of an adventure. Since my arrival here, I have been to two dairies, a walnut orchard, and almond orchard, a completely controlled-irrigated cornfield, and the coolest farmers’ market I have ever set foot at. Agricultural diversity abounds here. I’ve also met farmers who raise flowers, pistachios, strawberries, cherries, beef cattle, goats, sheep, bell peppers, oranges, herbs, alfalfa, and about a million other commodities. (Corn here is amazing, because they have corn of all different growth stages, all in the same area. You can have a pollinated field, sitting right next to one that is below knee-high. It’s mind-boggling!)

A shot of an orchard and canals

It’s a whole different ballgame than Illinois.

Neither is better or worse. They both have a sort of home-like feeling to me. When I see a rolling field of tasseled corn, my heart sings…because, there is something special there, for me. There is a flood of memories and a sense of comfort. While my present (and who knows, maybe my future) takes place in California’s diverse groves and orchards and fields and paddocks, I can always rest assured that back home, in the Land of Lincoln, the corn (and soybeans) will always be where my roots lie.

Kelly Rivard

One thought on “WHOLE NEW BALLGAME”

  1. Thank you kindly for sharing my post, guys! It’s always a pleasure to work with you and return to my roots. I’m looking forward to being back in Illinois soon and hope to see y’all at Farm Progress Show. Best wishes!

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