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Names in the News: Neil Peck

Published on 30 June 2015

Tim McDonald and Neil Peck

Neil Peck of Welcome Stock Farm in upstate New York recently hosted writer Tim McDonald for a very hands-on farm tour. McDonald wanted to milk a cow as part of a fund-raising event for No Kid Hungry.

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The visit resulted in both an article in the Huffington Post and a video of McDonald’s experience. We caught up with Neil to ask him about hosting the writer on his farm.

How was the interview arranged?

I was contacted by the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, the group that Tim reached out to. They explained to me what Tim’s challenge was about and the cause he was advocating for (No Kid Hungry), and I was all for participating.

What concerns did you have about opening up your farm to Tim and having him milk a cow?

I had no concerns about people with a non-agriculture background coming on to our farm. We all need to do our part in the industry to let people see and understand how their food is produced.

Have you done other interviews in the past?

I have done interviews in the past for newspapers and television. Some of these interviews were leading up to a large event our county puts on called Sundae on the Farm. We at Welcome Stock Farm have hosted this event two times. We really enjoy sharing our story about agriculture with consumers.

Why did you consent to the interview?

I consented to the interview because I share Tim’s same passion to help the movement No Kid Hungry – but in a different way. I’m not a blogger, but I am passionate about producing food, and I feel there should be no hungry children.

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Were you nervous? How did you prepare?

I wasn’t nervous; I’m a very outgoing person. I prepared by doing some research on Tim and this challenge. When I found out how this idea came about, I got very excited to be part of this because I’m passionate about producing food and Tim is passionate about this cause. They obviously go hand-in-hand.

What fact do you think Tim was most surprised to learn about dairy farming?

I think Tim was most surprised that milking a cow on our farm involved so much automation and technology.

Were you happy with the final product?

The final product was great. We helped Tim fulfill his obligation to the challenge, and we showed Tim and all the people who watched the video about how we produce milk.

What was the most difficult question?

There weren’t really any difficult questions. I explained to him how we care for our cows and all the procedures we go through to make sure our cows are healthy and happy, and it all made good sense to him.

Have you had any feedback because of the article?

We have had a lot of feedback. All the feedback was positive, and I think we have made more people aware of the No Kid Hungry movement.

What advice would you give another producer who may be doing an interview?

My advice to other producers is to do it, but make sure your spokesperson is not nervous to speak to non-farming people or in front of a camera. Always speak in terms the audience you are speaking to can relate to.

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For example, our cows live in a barn with sand freestalls where feed and water are always available. I relate this to people by saying it’s like a person lying on the beach (sand stalls) with someone fanning you (fans) under an umbrella (barn roof) with a buffet 10 steps away (feed, a balanced diet) and the bar right close by also (water).

Most important, have fun and be passionate about what you do for a living, and tell people why it’s important to you and the people of the world. We need to feed a growing population with less resources, and I know we can do it. PD

PHOTO: Neil Peck (right) gives blogger Tim McDonald (left) a personal, hands-on tour of Peck’s milking facilities at Welcome Stock Farm. Photo courtesy of Huffington Post.

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