Meet Katy Moore, Nebraska CropWatch Editor
A year ago, Katy Moore became our Nebraska CropWatch editor and we are so grateful to have her on board! We realized we never formally introduced her to our CropWatch audience. When Katy mentioned she’d like to start adding feature stories to CropWatch, I felt it was a great opportunity to interview her and introduce her to our CropWatch audience! We hope you have the opportunity to connect with Katy in the future.
1. 'Please share a little about yourself.'
I’m the youngest of five siblings, and I grew up in Effingham, a small farming community in northeast Kansas. My dad was a farmer (dairy cattle and row crops) throughout his youth and young-adult life. My mom wasn’t from a farm family, but she loved horses and was notorious around her hometown for running the streets on her pony, Tony. She did a lot of barrel racing with him, too. My parents both loved horses, actually, and they raised a handful for several years after they married.
After I graduated high school, I went to the University of Kansas and received my Bachelor’s of Science in Journalism and Communications. After college, I went back to my hometown area and got a job as a reporter for the local community newspaper. I worked my way from reporter to the news editor desk and was also the editor of a quarterly women’s magazine. Eventually, I migrated to the Nebraska area where I got a job at the Midwest Messenger as a regional editor, followed by editor. Being a reporter in a farming community in Kansas, I had written some ag stories before. However, it was at the Messenger when I got much more involved with the ag community, featuring farmers and ranchers regularly. I really enjoyed that and spent four years at the Messenger before I came to CropWatch.
Now, I live in Bellevue with my husband, Luke, and daughters Lilli, Aurie and Viktoria. We also have two temperamental cats, two rowdy dogs, and a third cat that is convinced he’s also a dog.
2. 'What interested you in this CropWatch editor position?'
While I worked at the Midwest Messenger, I really enjoyed telling the stories of farmers and ranchers and learning about the issues they faced. I just didn’t realize all the complications they dealt with, and the science and math behind their work. It was eye-opening for me to talk with them and hear what their lives were like — I found it all extremely interesting. I already felt a connection to the ag community after growing up in one, and I felt so comfortable talking with farmers and ranchers — sharing in their memories and experiences, and being a voice for their love of agriculture. I knew then that I wanted to stay in the agri-journalism sector.
So, when I learned about the CropWatch editor position, I thought it would be a great chance for me to stay connected to the ag world yet delve deeper into the science and math, and understand more about all of the tools farmers need to do their job. The work done by extension educators and agronomy and horticulture faculty in our universities is so important to the ag industry, and I was excited to become a small part of that nationwide initiative. I felt like my calling was to become a better advocate for agriculture and this was an opportunity for me to continue to learn and share that message with the tool I know best — journalism.
3. 'What is your vision/goals for CropWatch?'
My primary goal is to continue to be an integral part of the data sharing process — helping producers obtain the information they need and ensuring that information is easy to understand and access. I’m that bridge between producers and Extension, to help make the information not so complex — I think that’s the most important service I can provide.
With some of these new crop issues, like tar spot and soybean gall midge, I also want to make sure CropWatch continues to be at the forefront of helping producers learn how to identify and control pests and diseases in their fields. And I hope to learn more about what readers want from CropWatch, so I can help shape it into the most useful product for them as they encounter these types of changes in the industry.
As a journalist, though, I also want to bring a bit of human interest news to CropWatch. I love having that connection to people’s lives, and when we read about what other people are doing, it’s engaging and entertaining, which can provide a much-needed mental break sometimes! So, I’m excited to bring a personal touch to CropWatch, where readers can maybe learn something new or get even more excited about the ag industry. Or both!
4. 'What has been the most interesting or most difficult part of your job?'
The most interesting thing about doing this job the past year has been the realization that my own worldview is shifting, from reading so much in-depth content about agriculture. I've talked on and on about no-till practices and nitrogen at the dinner table before. I taught my oldest daughter about crop insects that she's seen outside — I basically give my family an academic lecture on pirate bugs each fall, to prepare them for the onslaught. It has just amazed me how learning about these ag issues has changed the importance I place upon them to our daily lives. Even though I never farmed, several generations of my family did, and I like that I can pass on a piece of that to my kids, in my own way.
Probably the most challenging thing for me has been the technical parts of this job — going from being a writer and editor to resurrecting my education in web development, because this job is very technical with using html and content management systems (cms) to build what the readers see in the newsletter and on our site. I’ve learned a ton about that to do this job. The older I get, the more I enjoy learning new skills, so it’s been a fun challenge.
5. 'Anything else you’d like to share?'
I would encourage anyone with a question or suggestion to just reach out to CropWatch. One of the most fun parts of this job for me is talking to people when they call in and need help, as I’m often a go-between who can assist them in finding the right person to talk with about their situation. In some ways, it’s a very different job than what I’ve done in the past and it’s been a fun change of pace for me, switching gears and sharing agri-journalism in a new way. I love that I can help producers get an answer to their questions that they trust and appreciate. And I’m always willing to help with concerns or questions, so please feel free to send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 402-472-7981 and leave a name and phone number with your message.