"This is my type of group," said KTIV Channel 4 anchor woman Kristie VerMulm, keynote speaker at the second annual Women in Denim conference, who relishes her agriculture background.
She spoke to the some 380 women in attendance, admitting that speaking in front of three people used to make her sick. The crowd of women seems minute, now; she talks to 60,000 people each night as she broadcasts the news.
The love for her job is apparent and she is proud of her agriculture background.
She grew up in the small town of Harrisburg, S.D., and never intended to learn about the country life. A friend persuaded her into joining Future Farmers of America and she was convinced she wouldn't care for the organization. But she surprised herself.
"I credit being a member of FFA to getting me to where I am today. I learned so much around me."
While in FFA she judged soils - and will challenge anyone to distinguishing them from one another - and she did dairy judging which entailed tasting several dairy products and distinguishing their flavors from good to rancid. To this day she cannot eat cottage cheese and will not even allow it in her house. (The taste of rancid cottage cheese is forever embedded on her taste buds!)
It was also through FFA where she learned to relax while talking to a crowd.
Having an agriculture background is essential, she feels, in a job such as hers; especially in the rural area.
She laughed about a report being read about a "cow" that was on the loose and the havoc and disruption it was making. From the video accompanying the story, she knew immediately the "cow" was actually a "bull."
"Big city reporters don't adapt well in the country. It's important to know a little agriculture," she said.
Reporting the news, she added, captures the "great moments in our lives. The stories are so much a part of us but there are a lot of negative things out there, more now than 20 years ago. I chose to believe in the good of people, the positive in people.
"When we hear of the horrible things that happen, like the hurricanes, that's when we rise up and make a difference in the lives of others."
She concluded by saying, "Everyone here has made a difference in the life of at least one person, good or bad, you never know how many lives you've touched. It is so easy for women to not take time for themselves but everyone here is showing they are taking that time. I commend all of you for doing that. So often, we put ourselves on the back burner. We need to enjoy life. The simple things are what make you smile. Life is short. Always live for today."