I am now an Indianapolis Colts fan.
I have never seen them play or been vaguely interested in the National Football League, but I caught Colt fever last week in Indianapolis when a group of agriculture journalists toured Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Colts.
We raced through the same en-trance onto the field as the players do on game day, minus the cheerleaders, and into the 70,000-seat stadium. We took selfies in the Colt’s locker room, had drinks in the Quarterback lounge and ate at the mashed potato bar. An American food fad seems to be serving a variety of mashed potatoes and an assortment of toppings.
It was all part of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association conference, this year held in the Hoosier state.
One of the surprises at Lucas Oil Stadium was meeting and interviewing Forrest Lucas, who paid $122 million for the naming rights on the stadium for 20 years. Lucas grew up on a dirt poor farm in southern Indiana, eventually becoming a multimillionaire through his oil products and now raises purebred Simmental cattle.
Lucas said growing up on a farm taught him reality.
Animals on his farm had a role: they were well cared for and had a humane end of life. It’s with this background that through his organization Protect the Harvest, he is fighting animal activists who want to limit animal agriculture.
Journalists at the Ag Media Summit spent time touring Indiana farms, including a 5,000-acre farm that grows corn for corn flakes and walnut trees for veneer furniture.
It was also a time of celebrating the achievements of reporters, editors and designers in the agricultural news industry.
The Western Producer took home several awards.
Calgary-based reporter Barbara Duckworth achieved Level 4 of the Master Writers series, recognizing continued, strong writing.
This year I was awarded my Master Writers award.
Michelle Houlden, the Producer’s art director, received four design awards for turning words, pictures and graphics into pages of beauty that entice readers into a story.
I was awarded first place in the breaking news category for a story I wrote about a steer at the Calgary Stampede that was disqualified after it tested positive for drug use.