Pete Olsen (pictured below), who partners with his brothers Eric and Neil Olsen at Hillside Dairy in Fallon, Nevada, was recently interviewed by NPR’s Kirk Siegler for a story about drought conditions in the West. Olsen said his experience was positive and helped to tell the plight of dairy farmers in his neck of the woods.
How did your interview with NPR come about?
This fellow from the radio was doing a report on the drought in California and, I’m not sure how he got my name, but we got a USDA drought map out and saw that Nevada was pretty hard hit too. …That’s where it started.
Why did you consent to do the interview?
Because I think it’s good publicity to let people know what’s going on out here, that Dairy Farmers of America are putting their money where their mouth is (by putting up the plant) to make a product that people want to buy in the world market.
Were you nervous before the interview? What did you do to prepare?
Not too much. I really didn’t have to prepare. He was a really nice guy; it wasn’t his first time to the rodeo. He’s been to dairies before. … (He needed sound bites for the radio), but cows are pretty (quiet) animals. But we found some calves to feed and they obliged. Also, he recorded pulsators inside the barn.
Have you done other interviews before? Please explain.
Yes, several times for the local newspaper and even TV a few times. More recently, the Los Angeles Times did a story on the new whole milk powder production plant and area and the Wall Street Journal also did one. What’s nice is that they’ve all been positive.
What was most odd or surprising to you about the reporter’s visit/questions?
There wasn’t anything odd.
What was the most difficult question you had to answer?
They were all pretty fair and easy.
Were you satisfied with the piece that NPR produced?
Yes, very pleased. It was very positive, and I’ve gotten some nice feedback on it. As a dairy producer, we’re always worried about what light our industry will be put in.
Have you made any new connections or had any interesting experiences as a result of the story airing?
Not really, but it’s funny how many different directions it’s come back in. You find out who listens to NPR. And then it’s online, too.
Overall, was it worthwhile to do the interview?
What advice would you have for other dairy producers who may be interviewed by media?
I think the more people you have putting a face to agriculture, the better. … There are people out here doing honest work. We have to give our cows the best possible care and you have to tell that story so folks will understand. We need to show ourselves to the public. PD