“I didn't grow up loving trucks and cars and I’m not necessarily passionate about point A to point B. What excites me the most is the out of the box problem solving. The word no motivates me.”
The heart of the dairy crisis: Farmers receive, today, what farmers were paid in 1985, but that same amount of money held a lot more purchase power 34 years ago. Back then minimum wage was $3.35.
“Absolute breakeven is about $19 a hundredweight, now,” Anne explained. “When we took over they were saying $12 or $13 was breakeven. Now, it's $19. That doesn't include paying our bills; that's just to produce the milk.”
“Coming out of film, you're always realizing that there's this motion going on and how do you keep motion going? You just get dropped in and it's go, go, go. It's like a little ride.” He spoke with an air of satisfaction. “You get such a natural high off of seeking out a challenge like that and making it happen.”
“The day that I don't sit across the desk from somebody to do taxes, I'm done. Anybody can work numbers. My employees give me a bad time because they think I spend more time talking than I do getting the information, but I want people to know that what’s going on in their life matters to me. It’s important to get to know people.”
Somehow he remembered his calling card number (remember those?) and called his roommate. Since it was in the wee hour of the morning his roommate thought it was a prank, so it took a few tries before Jed convinced him to drive out into the middle of nowhere to pick him up and help search for Caesar.
"Was that an alcohol problem or just typical stupid teenage behavior?" I asked trying to clarify.
"I think it's a little bit of both," came her answer, "I eventually got to a point where I was drinking because of my problems and not because I wanted to have fun. I was pretending I was a normal person and not an alcoholic…”
Warning: graphic photo included
He's from Davenport, Iowa - you know, that part of the state that, when viewed on a map, looks like a nose - but, he's called Rochester, MN home for the past 17 years. And, he's an actual writer (whereas I'm a hack of a writer) and in our interview he used some really great words like "ostensibly," so I determined to put on my big-girl writer pants and not screw this up.