As a kid, do you remember what you wanted to be “when you grew up”? I do, and while a few other options like being a news anchor (how fun) or a lawyer (maybe not as fun) surfaced from time to time, I always came back to one job: editor of a national dairy magazine, specifically
Devaney kimmi
Editor / Progressive Dairy
Progressive Dairy.

This has been my dream since I was a 13-year-old 4-H’er reading dairy magazines to study for dairy bowl in 2001.

To say I’m thrilled to be an editor here and excited you are reading my first editorial might be the understatement of the century. This has been a long time coming – 21 years, to be exact.

We all have people who helped inspire us to pursue our dreams. Let me tell you about three of the people who had the greatest impact on my interest in dairy journalism.

Topping my list of mentors and influential people are my two biggest fans – Granny and Grandpa. Unfortunately, they are no longer with us to read this, and that breaks my heart every day. When Mom returned to work after maternity leave, Granny took on the huge role of caring for me, and later my younger brother, while our parents were working. Spending all this time at the farm with them while we were growing up was truly the greatest gift, and it built a very close relationship with our grandparents.

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Grandpa was born into the family dairy as the second youngest of nine kids. He grew up during the 1920s and 1930s and would often tell me how they “didn’t have much.” He only completed school up to the eighth grade and then went into farming full time to help his dad, who died just a few years after that. Grandpa was one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever known. He was so kind, funny and always had an encouraging word at just the right moment.

Granny was so sweet and would do anything to help. She spent many hours trying to teach my stubborn first 4-H calf to lead by walking her up and down the driveway while I was at school. That calf’s name was Allie, and she was a sweetheart with an interesting way of showing it. One day, after Allie refused to lead – again – Granny looked at her and said, “You may be stubborn, but I’m more stubborn than you and you will move.” Allie’s ears went back, and she knew Granny meant business. Granny never again had any issues with Allie not wanting to lead and neither did I. From that day forward, they were the best of friends.

I am thankful to have so many of their qualities, including Grandpa’s stubbornness and Granny’s sassiness. Most importantly, I got my passion for the dairy industry and my work ethic from them.

Writing always came easy to me, and I consider myself so lucky to have been in Roberta Kelly’s media writing class at Washington State University (Go Cougs!). It was a tough class, and she was the best kind of teacher. She had high expectations for her students and was always willing to help us improve. Roberta and I quickly bonded over her love for horses and my love of dairy cows. The next semester, I was in her Journalism 305 class, and she would send our weekly article assignments to the campus newspaper, The Daily Evergreen, for their consideration if they needed additional content. That was the first time my articles were published in more than a high school yearbook, and it motivated me to continue writing. I’m thankful it led me here.

While cows are awesome, it’s the people who make the dairy industry so great. Happy National Dairy Month! end mark

Kimmi Devaney