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Names in the News: Stacey McCallister

PD staff Published on 13 September 2012

Q&A with Missouri producer Stacey McCallister, who was interviewed by CNN for a story about failing dairy farms.

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Click here to read CNN's story.

How did your interview with CNN come about?
I am on the Missouri Dairy Association board and had done an interview for Harvest Public Media, who had found me through Facebook.

CNN called our chairmen looking for someone to talk to and since I had just done radio they gave them my name along with a couple of others. I talked to reporters a few times about the story and they decided to go with me.

Why did you consent to do the interview?
Because I thought my personal struggle to stay in business – even if I couldn't make it through this – might help others or at least bring attention to the problems we face BESIDES the drought.

Were you nervous before it? What did you do to prepare?
I was very nervous since it was a video. I prayed. I went over what points I wanted to make and prepared myself not to answer questions too quickly.

Have you done other interviews before?
I've done a local TV show and a couple of radio ones lately.

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What was most odd or surprising to you about the reporter's visit/questions?
That they had no idea about farming or the struggles we face. I sent them to a local salebarn where dairy cattle were being liquidated. They said that was the most eye opening thing they had seen.

What was the most difficult question you had to answer?
What are my future plans for dairying and if I was going to have to sell my farm.

Were you satisfied with the piece that they produced? If not, why and what could you have influenced it otherwise?
I was okay with piece. I wanted it focused more on solutions than anything else. There wasn't really a whole lot I could say or ask to change the way they produced it.

Have you made any new connections or had any interesting experiences as a result of the story airing?
There was lots of local support but I was amazed at some of comments left on the story by viewers. They really have no idea how their food gets to them or the work to produce it and how the government sets the price.

Overall, was it worthwhile to do the interview?
Very much so. With all work there is profit.

What advice would you have for other dairy producers who may be doing interviews?
Be honest about your situation and not afraid to speak out against our industry leaders because we are the ones milking the cows and paying their salaries. We know their way isn't working. Don't be afraid to speak up, no one else will [speak up] for you. PD

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