In pursuit of dreams (a farewell to Kelvin)

We all need dreams to believe in. Dreams are about goals, aspirations, and achieving what makes us happy. Dreams are not singular in nature, as we are allowed and compelled to have as many as we want. Dreams are personal, but also involve family, friends, and our careers.

Yesterday Kelvin announced that he is stepping down from his position at RealAgriculture to farm full-time with his family. He is following his dream to be a full-time farmer.

We first met in 2010 on media trip to Indianapolis with Dow AgroSciences (see below). I was two years into pretending I was in the media with a tiny website with one employee and Kelvin was working for Golden West Radio in Altona, Manitoba.

A young Kelvin Heppner on the right. (photo credit: A creeping Shaun Haney)

The truth is that we knew that Kelvin Heppner was a special broadcaster before he joined the RealAg team. Lyndsey and I would marvel at how Kelvin seemed to be so fast getting stories posted, and having the scoop on the latest rumour circulating on the grain industry. We knew his velocity and pace of thoughtful, intelligent journalism was going to be a perfect fit at RealAg.

When Kelvin joined the RealAgriculture team in August of 2014, after Lyndsey and I sold him on joining the team, the reaction from the audience was interesting. I received email from the audience stating:

“It’s nice to see RealAg finally has a professional on the team.”

“He actually sounds like he knows what he is talking about.”

In Kelvin’s four years at RealAg we have learned so much from each other. I am truly going to miss our RealAg radio show prep conversations that mainly consisted of discussing issues that had nothing to do with the show. I sincerely wish we could of shared some of those conversations with the audience.

When we started the RealAg Radio show in October of 2016, I remember our plunge together trying to figure out what exactly we were doing. After all, I was just a podcaster, and I relied so much on Kelvin’s past experiences in radio to keep me realistic and focused on the challenges ahead.

After I had volunteered Kelvin to be the “news guy” (without really asking him) we started pre-recording the show to catch our bearings. We now mostly do the show live, take live callers, and play audio clips. Kelvin always seemed to understand my poor explanation of why the jump to Rural Radio 147 made so much sense for RealAgriculture. I will never forget that belief that he had in me when it was easy to just say it was a not well thought out idea.

Kelvin is going to succeed building his family’s poultry business because he has dedication and focus that not all exhibit in media or farming. His recognition that a Friday night at 11PM was not a reason to ignore a breaking story or going is just one example he showcased numerous times. We joked frequently that even if we didn’t work together we would still be texting each other news links and tweets at midnight. That this mutual obsession with current events was somehow perfectly normal and not completely work related.

This is not a goodbye for Kelvin as I plan on dragging him onto Realag Radio for commentary in the future and I’m sure we will see some editorials on, but it is a change for him, our team, and the audience.

Although Kelvin is now chasing his dream to become a full-time farmer, It has been a dream for me to work side by side with Kelvin Heppner over the past four years.

Cheers, Kelvin.

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