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Surprise knowledge is power

By Faith Hatton, posted 6 days ago
Junior Ferreira/Unsplash

Knowledge is such a funny thing, sometimes you gain it on purpose; you read a book or watch an episode of ‘How It’s Made.’ And sometimes, you surprise yourself with how much you didn’t know you knew about a topic. 

While we here at the Greater Fayetteville Business Journal were piecing together this special agri-business issue, there were several times that I would have to ask myself “Why do I know so much about crop processing and Cargill?” or “Why do I know so much about the dairy industry?” or, my personal favorite; “Why the heck do I know so much about corn?” 

It wasn’t until I thought back and it all became clear; two years as a journalist in North Dakota, yeah, you’re going to learn a lot about farming. 

Unfortunate fact from the lived experience of a southerner: despite corn being a $2 billion (yes, that is billion with a ‘B’) cash crop in the Peace Garden State in 2021, corn meal is extremely hard to find in most supermarkets (so if you’re ever heading that way, plan accordingly). 

That statistic, as well as many others, has been locked away in my brain for who knows how long.


Some other fun farming facts that I forgot I knew until researching this issue:

  • Cows are musically inclined animals. I once interviewed a dairy farmer who played David Bowie -Moonage Daydream to be exact- for his cows. He said it increased their milk production.
  • An average ear of corn has 800 kernels arranged in 16 rows.
  • North Dakota is the number one honey producer state in the nation. You wouldn’t think so because the winters are tough, but our bee friends are thriving up north.


Surprise knowledge has a fun way of sneaking up on you when you need it. Sometimes you have a “Why do I know that?” moment and sometimes, it impresses your friends at a party. Believe it or not, that corn fact has helped me break the ice plenty of times. 

Some of my favorite experiences in news have been working with farmers to tell their stories. I suppose it shouldn’t be too much of a shock that tidbits of information that I had to learn, whether through preliminary research, interviews, or while petting a cow, stuck with me. I’m glad I had the chance to apply it somewhere useful. 

The main takeaway: we as humans are always learning, always processing, always retaining new information, whether we know it or not, and that’s good. It’s vital that you keep learning and stay teachable. It’s how we grow as people, it’s how businesses start, it’s how people come up with innovative ideas and it’s how we keep moving forward.

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