Know When to Try a New Pair of Shoes – Agweek

Know When to Try a New Pair of Shoes – Agweek

A little over nine years ago I started writing a weekly Agweek column. After more than 400 columns, this is my last.

Thank you for connecting with Agweek, my family and me. Over the years you’ve called, taken notes, offered support from the valleys and cheered after the victories.

Earlier this year I realized how deeply I longed for change. It started with a pair of shoes. My husband and I listened to a story with tips for everyday exercisers to prevent injuries. One suggestion was to replace your running shoes every 500 miles. My husband and I laughed about our worn-out shoes. I’m not a runner, but I run at least 500 miles of country roads every year, weather permitting in the northern Plains.

When is it time to buy a new pair of shoes or boots? I still take shoes and boots to Service Shoe Shop in Grand Forks, North Dakota, as my father taught me growing up, instead of buying a new pair. Why replace a pair of shoes when all you need is a new sole?

It is not lost on me that shoes are a first world luxury. My ancestors from the agricultural sector worked hard to provide their children with shoes. These days, our entryway, or “breezeway,” as my grandmother would say, is full of shoes.

I specifically have a pair of western slip-on shoes to wear at the fair in the cattle barn every summer. I keep the beautiful name brand cowboy boots that my mother bought me for outings and fancy occasions.

A few years ago my daughter Elizabeth wore my beautiful black leather embroidered boots in the heifer barn to clean manure and straw. She smiled and said, “Your boots fit me, Mom, and I couldn’t find my farm boots!”

Nowadays we spend our shoe budget on our teenage daughters, who need a whole range of trainers every year. I try to buy as many shoes as possible when they are on sale because they wear out or outgrow them quickly. The days of Elizabeth borrowing my shoes are over, and now I wear her hand-me-down shoes.

After hearing the story about replacing shoes every 500 miles, I bought a pair of full-price brand hiking boots for my foot type. I ordered them and then they sat at our front door for days, still in the shipping box.

Not long after buying those new shoes, a friend made the analogy between shoes that don’t fit and careers. Did the Agweek shoe still fit me?

It was about time – I needed a change, figuratively and in real life.

Although I am no longer the publisher of Agweek, I am intensely proud of the Agweek editorial and sales team. They are among the best in agricultural journalism and agricultural sales and marketing, not only in the region, but in the entire US.

A change in my career will not change my respect for the work the Agweek team does every week to produce premium agricultural news through multimedia channels and targeted advertising for the farms.

The day I wrapped up my final responsibilities at Forum Communications Company, owner of Agweek, I took my new shoes out of the box and wore them to my daughters’ track meet. A new chapter, with new shoes that indeed felt so much more comfortable on my feet and back than my old shoes.

Change brings so many unknowns. Those of you who have been reading this column for a number of years, and my blog before that, know that I adapt to change. Manure on my best boots doesn’t phase me. New shoes give me strength.

No matter what shoes I wear, farming will always fuel me. You’ll still see me at community events and farm shows, cheering on our daughters, supporting my husband and son in their small businesses, and pursuing my farming and communications passions in the far corners of rural America where you live.

Don’t hesitate to try on a new pair of shoes or boots. At the very least, polish your favorite pair for new life.

Katie Pinke

Katie Pinke is publisher and general manager of Agweek and AgweekTV and has written a weekly column since 2015. Pinke lives with her husband and children in rural North Dakota, where she is a 4-H leader, an active community volunteer, and a proud fifth-generation farmer’s daughter.