Jolene Brown Delivered a Powerful Message with Laughter

Jolene Brown may be long-legged, but she wasn’t long-winded on Wednesday morning of the AM-PIC. Her general session keynote had everyone on the edge of their chairs and at times even falling off their chairs with laughter. She’s fun and funny, but her presentation, “It’s a Jungle Out There,” had a take-home message we can all take seriously. The pace, the people, the process, and the services and products Jolene Brown speaking at the NACAA conference in Des Moines.for those of us in agriculture really have changed. Extension has an important role in helping farmers and everyone in the agricultural industry adapt and adopt new ideas.

Known as the ’real Farmer Brown,’ Jolene lives and farms in eastern Iowa and has spoken across the U.S. and around the world for more than 30 years. The Iowa planning team was so pleased to bring “one of our own” to extension professionals from 48 states and two U.S. territories during the AM-PIC.

Jolene is an inductee into the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and the author of two great books. She is a polished professional, but says her greatest claim to fame is that she’s still married … even though she has dented the grain bin, plugged augers and entertained the folks behind the parts counter.

The fast pace of news, information and technology impacts all of us in agriculture. We have to advocate for ag by providing correct information to our consumers and learn to use the available technology to help us do our work better. The people in ag have changed. Farmers themselves are becoming more diverse and our consumers are far removed from farming family members or other rural connections. The processes to grow food and move that food all along the value chain are constantly being innovated. For example, GPS helps us put fertilizer exactly and only where it is needed, and an apple has a barcode on it, connecting it to the farmer who grew it.

Jolene Brown speaking at the NACAA conference in Des Moines.The services and products those of us in agriculture produce have really changed, too. “On my farm, I produce biologically based specifically raw materials. This is the first link in an important blockchain from conception to consumer use,” said Jolene, about her corn and soybean farm. She went on to explain the value of what we do is in the eye of the purchaser, not the producer, the consumer, not the creator. Unless we know what other people value, we will be irrelevant and out of business.

Jolene wrapped all these important points up with humor and real-life stories. Her talk helped extension colleagues from across the country open their eyes to the influencers in today’s world, all while celebrating the privilege of being part of agriculture.