The Land of Oz

For those that don’t know me in real life, or didn’t catch the news through social media, I almost had a moment last week. Well, not really almost. It was a moment, but it didn’t last much longer than that.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Early last week, I caught a tweet sent out by the Dr. Oz show. It asked for people to share their use of dairy products. I simply replied that dairy is an integral part of our day, and that we use it for every meal and snacks, consuming dairy sometimes as much as 7 times per day…a total of 5-7 gallons per week.

I didn’t think it was that out of the norm…and didn’t expect a reply. But I was wrong.

It started with a simple reply, followed by a request for more information and contact numbers. I was still under the assumption that they were just looking for quotes, survey information, etc. It wasn’t until our second conversation was underway before the woman at the other end of the line floored me. “Well, I know this is sudden, but would you be willing to fly to New York to tape a show on Tuesday?” WHAT?!

I spit, sputtered and tried to gather my thoughts. The show was going to feature dairy usage, but I didn’t know much more than that. I quickly found out that we would have to be willing to forgo dairy for a 28 days. They would do a before/after comparison to see how we felt, where our health was, etc. Although I wasn’t convinced there would be any change, I was willing to try it out.

Why? Well, there are two reasons.

1) George already follows a diet that is much stricter than what they were proposing. I wouldn’t mind being forced into a situation where I can get a feel for what he goes through (although I do know I could do it at any time, the incentive here is greater). Plus the opportunity to share HIS story and see if I could gather more information/insight would be spectacular.

2) The Dr. Oz show will go forward with the production of this show, whether or not my family participates. So is it better to have someone on that perhaps would have no agriculture background? The opportunity to participate in that conversation with that level of audience was one that I felt was too great to pass up.

So, what happened? Well, I’m not 100% sure. I know what they wrote in their email. And I know how the conversations leading up to it went, so I’ve put two and two together and think I have a pretty good idea as to what happened…but I’ll never know for sure.

Here’s the facts: Boss Man wasn’t comfortable going to NY to tape. We are in the middle of our third cutting of alfalfa and we have many people depending on our hay crop to feed their herds. We have been pretty blessed with timely rains, so the fact that we have a crop at all is nothing to take lightly. He was willing to go through with the 28-day challenge, the blood work, all of it, just not be in the studio for the first taping.

They said they were fine with that, had my flights booked, had a flight to ND booked to tape on Saturday, even called our local clinic to inquire about having the bloodwork completed for Mark.

And at 10:30 Friday morning I was on a conference call with a producer or two of the show, when I started asking some pretty specific questions. Mainly, what is it that they were hoping I would say. I had explained to them from the beginning that we were a farm family, that we worked closely with our friends and customers that are dairy families. And I specifically stated that at no point would I blame dairy products for any health issues I may have, and I would not throw dairy under the bus.

I was assured that I would not be portrayed in a negative light. That it would all be fine and work out. And then I was told that they would be in touch…and I waited…and waited.

Late Friday afternoon, less than 6 hours from the time that the production crew was supposed to land at the nearest airfield a mere hour away, I received an email that stated that the show had decided to go a different route.

Plans aborted.

Am I disappointed? A little, but more for the missed opportunity to reach out to others that may have information that would help with George’s care and the opportunity to connect the farm to a face than anything. Am I relieved? A little, having my medical flaws exposed on television didn’t exactly sound like a great way to spend a morning.

But I will take my lemons and make some lemonade…and I have learned SO much. And I have my own 28-day challenge that I will embark on…starting next week.

Stay tuned. Oh, and I have some more lessons that I learned, but I’ll have to wait to share those. I’m still trying to figure out how to word it all. Did I say something wrong? Did I ask the wrong questions? And I don’t just mean with the show.

Last week was one for the record books…and I’m still tired just thinking about it.

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5 thoughts on “The Land of Oz

  1. I seriously think they are intimidated by actual farm families because they know what we have to say will not fit with the message they want to send. And it will be FACTUAL! Good for you for being willing to disrupt your busy schedule to do this (even though it didn’t work out). Had an interesting conversation with some city folk last weekend about farming. Their misconceptions were huge …which just gave me an idea for my next blog! Can’t wait to hear more comments from you on this experience.

    • You’re right…the misconceptions ARE huge, which is one of the reasons I started blogging. At least I had the opportunity to prepare for something like this, and will be more than ready next time!

  2. So you are going along with 28 day challenge? Cool…. I am interested to see how that turns out. I know milk is fairly high in fat and can cause constipation. My boy is lactose intollerant, we drink skim, and pretty much only as a food ingredient (for no particular reason, we love water, thats just how we roll)…. I wonder how you will feel afterwards, if there will be weight loss, bettter digestion… it IS a pretty fascinating experiment… Just because you drink such an insane amount of milk : )
    I’m sorry the show decided to go another route, I think they were probably a bit concerned about your ag advocacy, and whatnot, concerned about biases, of course if they knew you, they would know that you would be nothing short of truthful… We were all so excited for you, I was telling all sorts of people here in Madison, dairy capital of the world…. But you know what they say, when one door closes another will open up.

  3. Thanks for sharing the rest of the story with all of us Val. I was so bumbed for you and I really wanted you to be able to tell George’s story …. if one person watching the show could benefit from watching it would have been worth it!! Take care … God Bless as always!

  4. I am inspired by your committment to the dairy industry. Unfortunately sometimes the true story of agriculture, that is, hardworking families intent on producing quality products gets misrepresented.
    Your story is compelling and I appreciate your loyalty to both the industry and your son.

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