New School Year, Domain, Look, Series

I have successfully survived my “last first day of school”. I should have got my brother Brady to take my picture this morning before I left with my backpack and lunchbox, however it was 5:45am and I don’t think he would have appreciated it very much if I would have woke him. Needless to say I am very happy to be back in Auburn, I was able to have a turkey sub from BBQ House for lunch so it has been a good day.

Anna Leigh Peek BBQ House

 I started a few days later than the rest of Auburn students because last week I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the AgChat Foundation’s Agvocacy 2.0 Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

AgChat 2013

Photo Courtesy of Chuck Zimmerman

Since my major is Agriculture Communications I was so excited to be going to a conference that was all about social media and agriculture. I was able to finally meet folks I have followed on Twitter and Blogs for years now. We also had a swap on Thursday night where we swapped items from our state with others. I came home with some pretty awesome swAG.

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At the conference I was able to learn from some of the best Ag-vocates out there. I was able to learn how to use some social media platforms I have not really considered like Pinterest. I even learned a few tips about Facebook (I thought I had mastered the Facebook) I have been motivated to blog more and was even motivated that I now have my own domain (www.ALfromAL.com) and have left blogger to come to Word Press. 

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We had a great panel discussion there with guest panelist which included a mom blogger, nutritionist, blogger and a chef. It was a great reminder of why we were there, even though they are very educated individuals they still lack a great understanding of food and where it comes from and also shows we still have so much work to do. I have came home energized and hoping to do more blogging on food production and just more writing in general. So a few things to look for in the coming weeks:

1. Harvest Posts- harvest is coming up so why not show it? I hope to show how food leaves the field on its way to your plate. 

cotton harvest Alabama

2. Football Posts: Auburn Traditions / Fun Facts on Mondays and Tailgate Recipes on Fridays. There will also be travel stories at least from Texas A&M hopefully some other schools. 

Auburn football jordan hare

3.  Summer Internship- a few posts looking back on my experiences with Monsanto this summer in the Dakotas 

South Dakota Sunset Internship Anna Leigh PeekIt should be a fun fall and I am going to try to enjoy it as much as I can seeing that it is my last fall in Auburn as a student. Keep up with my adventures here!

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What Have I Gotten Into?

Back in January I accepted an internship with Monsanto for this summer. I am working with one of their brands called Channel. It is found mainly in the Midwest. Honestly I had never heard of it until I was told that is who I am to work for.

A few weeks after I accepted I found out I was going to be in the Dakotas. (you can read all about that here It Might Just Be South Dakota) I am now in South Dakota, been here a little more than 24 hours now, and it has been an intersting 24 hours. It all started yesterday morning with a 4:30am trip to the Saint Louis Airport where I had been at Monsanto’s headquarters for the week being trained.


Oh the joys of airport lines, security and problems. I flew to Minneapolis and there boarded a Great Lakes Aviation flight to Watertown, South Dakota. Great Lakes Aviation must be short for Crop Dusters USA because the planes were all tiny. Don’t believe me? Smallest commercial plane I have ever flown on.
 When it came time to board, they called for the Watertown flight and me and ONE other man walked up. It was just the two of us on the flight. Yep 2 of us plus 2 pilots, no flight attendant, no bathroom, no free drink. I had checked in first so I was assigned the special seat. The back row had three seats and I was to sit in the middle one to try to distrubute the weight as evenly as possible. It was a loud, bumpy and extremely cold flight. I even broke out my leather work gloves out of my backpack.
It was that cold.
As we began our descent below the clouds I got my first look at my new location for the summer. Lots of fields and a lot of lakes.
We landed at the Watertown Airport, no gate you just get out on to the asphalt.
When we taxied up to the airport and I looked around and thought “What in the world have I done??” This was the first time during this process where I doubted what I was doing. I had came 1,400 miles to the middle of nowhere and it didn’t hit me until I got here. As we deplaned I figured it would be warmer than the plane ride…false. When I stepped off the plane I was almost knocked off my feet by a gust of wind. I was handed my bags then it was off to the parking lot to find my truck, which wasn’t hard. My boss had described it as the dirty silver Ford (which I have since washed). Found it!
I loaded up the truck and started trying to back out and realized the emergency brake was on (so I thought). I released it and nothing happened. Engaged the brake and released it again, still nothing. I then got out the manual and tried to figure out what the warning messages meant. Texted my boss who had been driving the truck prior to her getting a new one. Still Nothing. Called the local Ford dealership who said to bring it in, but how was I to get there?!? So finally I got desperate and called my trusty mechanic, my dad. He told me to do the same things I had been doing and it still didn’t work. So then I cried a little and scared my dad (afterall I’m sure he wanted me to call him from 1,400 miles away crying) anywho, we finally got it figured out with a little extra jiggling of the brake pedal. Thankfully the only major crisis so far. The truck works fine now. Whew!
I then drove to my church so I would know where it was for today, bought a few essentials then drove the 70ish miles from Watertown to Webster, South Dakota where I am residing for the summer. I am living at Lakeside Farm Bed and Breakfast with Mr. Glenn and Mrs. Joy, a sweet Norweign couple who are retired dairy farmers. Their place is beautiful!
I have tried making friends with their cats, with no avail.
I got to the house and Mr. Glenn asked me if I would be interested in going into town with them to a celebration at the Webster, Armory. I did. (what else would I have done?) It was very interesting, the city of Webster and the city of Dewangen in Germany has had a friendship for the last 10 years and there are 36 people from the city in Germany here in Webster visiting. So it was an evening full of singing, musical and dance performances. There was even a German Polka band the town had hired to come in and play.
There was a huge crowd for a town of 1,900 people on Memorial Day weekend.
It is still cold here today. The drive to church this morning was more difficult than I am used to. It was extremely foggy and so windy I had to hold the wheel firm to stay on the road plus heavy rains. Not a fun drive, but it was very encouraging to be with brethren. I only brought summer dresses and sandals for Sundays. Thankfully I brought a few cardigans, but I still looked like a spring chicken today and it was 50 degrees. I am still cold and have the heat cranked up still trying to thaw out.  So for the most part the summer is off to a good start, I am just ready to start work on Tuesday. I’m not sure what I have gotten myself into, but I can face the uncertainty by finding comfort in Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good”

It Might Just Be South Dakota

You really know where life is going to take you next, and it might just be South Dakota. Yes, South Dakota home to

Mount Rushmore
The World’s Only Corn Palace (I’ve been there and yes its made of corn)
The Badlands
The Mashed Potato Wrestling Contest
Cows (more cows in SD than people)
Corn

and this summer…. ME! 
This summer I have accepted an internship with Monsanto and I will be covering a territory that covers parts of North and South Dakota. I will be working with a brand that we do not grow in the Southeast, it is called Channel. 
I will have approximately 40 growers that  I will be working with and promoting some of  Channel’s varieties of corn, soybeans and some alfalfa. It is definitely going to be an experience. I’m looking forward to it, but I’m also a little apprehensive about moving 1,200 miles away. It is a comfort is knowing that is is for three months and not permanently. I do believe it will be helpful in figuring out what I want do career wise as I get ready to graduate in next May. I have been to South Dakota once before, but I’ve learned a lot about South Dakota in the past few weeks, there is not a lot there when it comes to people, churches, temporary housing etc. I am looking forward to no humidity, it will be very nice compared to the temperatures I am used to in the summer. I know a few people up there and have made a few new connections since finding out that is where I’m going to be located. If you know anyone in South Dakota or if you have any suggestions of things I should see/do while I’m there pass them along to me!