With your membership size, you have had help running this explosive Facebook page?
Rick: [laughs] Yes. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a cowboy. I didn’t have a horse. A neighbor had a couple of cute daughters and they had a horse and so I went riding with him one day. It was moseyed away from the barn and then turned around and ran back full tilt. I was hanging on with every inch of my life trying to not die and sometimes I feel like that right now with this thing.
I’m on that runaway horse running back to the barn. I’ve been given two wonderful people who I’ve known for a long time and trust implicitly is Meagan Cramer, who is the VP of Communications at Kansas Farm Bureau, a longtime friend. She saw this and said, "Maybe I can help be an admin." [laughs] I was like, "Thank you." Then another young lady, Olivia Fletcher, whom I’ve known for a number of years, who is just really a social media guru. Between the two of them helping me navigate and keeping people on the purpose of what this is about, as you can imagine it’s social media and so some would like to take it and make it their agenda and add some vitriolic and political and non-pleasant types of commentary. We’ve really set that back and said, "No, that’s not–" In fact, a niece of mine is a preschool teacher and she says her rules are pretty simple. "Be nice and share or if not, you’re going to end up in timeout." [laughs]
Brityne: Exactly. Now, this Facebook page is titled Shop Kansas Farms. Have you had inquiries from other states about running platforms in their state?
Rick: Not only inquiries, they’re actually using our staff in starting their own which thrills me. This is not an organization. Somebody asked me, "Who’s backing this?" It’s like, "This is just an idea, and there’s nobody backing it." It’s not an organization. It’s actually, to me, an organism. It’s something that’s growing. It’s something that is– I’m far more interested in being a part of a movement than I am part of an organization, so I see a movement– Yes, I’ve been notified people who have said, "Hey, can I start Shop Ohio Farms or Shop Texas Farms or Shop Indiana Farms?" I’m like, "Yes, knock yourself out. Just don’t ask me to do it. I have my hands full." That runaway horse right now.
Brityne: Well, I bet. One final thing, Rick. If one wants to join this Facebook page, what would one do?
Rick: You’ve got to just jump on Facebook, look for Shop Kansas Farms, and before you join, there are some questions that you answer. Just some simple things. "Will you be nice and share? Make sure it stays about food. It’s not about any other thing other than food that’s consumed by humans. Be nice. This is not about advancing anybody’s political agenda or any other thing like that." If you answer those questions then automatically you can join.
Brityne: Okay. A big thank you, Rick, for being on the program and also sharing your expertise in creating this Facebook page to benefit not only producers and consumers in Kansas.
Rick: The greatest joy I have is I feel I’m the guy in the balcony that’s been able to swing the spotlight around and shine it on Kansas farmers and ranchers. People whom I admire more than anyone else in the world, and not just Kansas, but United States farmers and ranchers for the hard work, the tireless effort that they do every day to produce the food that we need to live, three times a day. They’re the best people in the world.
Brityne: Rick, thanks again for being on the program.
Rick: My pleasure. Thanks for asking me.