Hi! My name is Melisa Goss and I am so excited to be the new associate editor for the Tri-State Neighbor. It’s a newspaper I grew up reading, as agriculture has always been integral to my family. My paternal grandparents were in the sheep industry for ages. (In fact, sheep have been in the Goss family since we arrived in America in 1623!) My maternal grandparents milked Holsteins and grew corn, soybeans, wheat, and more. My parents raise black Angus. So it’s safe to say, I’ve seen the ins and outs of ag from an early age.
Ironically, however, I really never paid agriculture the respect it was due until the summer of 2013. I was always around it, but never really cared. It was a “couldn’t see the forest for the trees,” sort of thing.
That all changed in July 2013 when I found myself on assignment in Cambodia as a student fellow for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. I was in the Kingdom of Wonder reporting on human trafficking and found myself in a rural farming village. (What does farming have to do with human trafficking? Turns out, it’s a great prevention tactic. Check it out here.)
As I sat on the floor of the stilted house, watching the cattle beneath eat their hay through the tiny holes in the thatched floor, listening to the women explain the painstaking process of growing and harvesting rice, I suddenly realized that agriculture is the backbone of nearly every society on earth. Without it, we would be hungry, naked or worse.
After that eye-opening day, I made a point to write about the vital impact of ag as much as I could.
But of course, life gets in the way.
I came back from Cambodia, finished up my master’s degree in journalism from SDSU (go Jacks!) and wound up taking a job at a marketing agency as a copywriter. I’ve spent the last eight years as a writer in the advertising and marketing field, including, most recently, at an agency with an agricultural and rural niche. While it was a great way to feed my creative side, something was missing.
I wasn’t telling stories.
I went to journalism school because I wanted to use my writing to tell people’s stories.
Then one August morning, I saw a job posting for the Tri-State Neighbor. I knew I had to apply. And I could not be happier that they picked me. There is no greater story to tell than that of agriculture and those who make their living by it.
Nearly a decade after my revelation in a tiny Cambodian farming village, I am blessed to have the privilege to tell the stories of those who feed, clothe and fuel our world.
While writing and traveling are two of my greatest passions, there are two things that take up more room in my heart: my husband Kenny and my daughter Hazel, who is soon to be 3. Together, we love to explore the outdoors, take Tilly, our miniature schnauzer, on walks, ride our horse Tippy, cheer on the Sioux Falls Stampede hockey team, and of course, visit Grandpa and Grandma’s farm(s).
Thank you so much for the privilege of bringing you our region’s agricultural stories. May I do it with the honor it so greatly deserves.
Melisa Goss, Associate Editor for the Tri-State Neighbor, is a South Dakota farm girl whose love of travel has allowed her to see ag’s vital impact around the world, from America’s heartland to the rice paddies of Southeast Asia and many places in between. She makes her home in Sioux Falls with her husband, daughter and miniature schnauzer. You can reach her at email@example.com.