It’s a tradition that dates back to the 10th Alice in Dairyland- a visit with the legendary voice of agriculture, Orion Samuelson. Each holiday season, Alice makes the trip to Illinois to meet with Orion to share Something Special from Wisconsin™ holiday gift ideas with his national audience.
Orion Samuelson is a Wisconsin native, born and raised on a small dairy farm in the small town of Ontario, near La Crosse. During the early years of his broadcasting career, he worked with WKLJ in Sparta, WHBY in Appleton, and WBAY in Green Bay before stepping into his role as Agri-Business Director at WGN radio in Chicago, a position he has now held for 54 years.
During this time, he has become one of the most widely known agriculture broadcasters not only for his work in Chicago, but also for hosting the National Farm Report, his syndicated “Samuelson Sez” commentary programs, and This Week in Agribusiness as seen on RFD-TV.
It was such an honor and a privilege to sit down with this agriculture icon and share stories both on and off air. We chatted about our upbringings on family farms in Wisconsin and I shared with him my future dreams to connect the gap between the food industry and the agriculture industry. Orion was eager to hear about my goals and encouraged me to take all the knowledge and experience I gain during my year as Alice and utilize it to promote our agriculture industry. He also left me with a signed copy of his book “You Can’t Dream Big Enough” that I can’t wait to read over the holidays.
On air I shared products from Orion’s home state that are “Something Special from Wisconsin.™” From sharing our love for Wisconsin cheese to even sharing unique gifts like wine and bird seed, we spent a lot of time talking about our love for America’s Dairyland. Orion had so many interesting stories to share including meeting with U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy to discuss the dairy industry to even meeting Marshal Matt Dillion, Doc and Kitty from the hit television Western drama series. It was a unique opportunity to take the message of Wisconsin agriculture beyond our state borders and share its diversity and importance on a national level.
Meeting with Orion has definitely been a highlight of my year as Alice in Dairyland and is a memory I will cherish far into the future. You can catch Orion Samuelson on "This Week in Agribusiness" and on-air during his Farm Report on WGN radio.