“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Cris Peterson told the Sentinel following her speech at the Republican National Convention. “It was quite the opportunity to speak on national television in front of millions of viewers.”
Peterson is the chief financial officer (CFO) for Four Cubs Farm in Grantsburg. She is also a children’s book author who has published numerous books about agriculture including, Extra Cheese, Please! Mozzarella’s Journey From Cow to Pizza and serves on the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents.
Peterson started her speech, giving an overview of Four Cubs Farm, which milks over 1,000 cows every day, and explained to the national audience that Grantsburg is a “small middle American town.”
The convention was scheduled to be in Charlotte, North Carolina but was moved mostly to remote speeches and appearances.
Peterson continued her speech saying in 2016, dairy prices were horrible and that President Donald Trump took office during a “Great Depression for dairy farmers in Wisconsin.”
She told the story of how their milking parlor burnt to the ground in 2017 and by the end of the next year they built a new robotic milking facility.
Peterson said she received a call asking her to speak at the RNC and thought it was a joke.
Peterson wondered how they had gotten her phone number and realized it dated back to January 2019 when the Petersons were invited to New Orleans to be guests of the White House and the Farm Bureau’s Convention.
Flash forward to August 2020, Peterson was in contact with a White House staffer about the potential of America’s Food supply running out.
“I heard lots of stories about the industry following the COVID shut down in March,” Peterson said, including one story about hogs stuck on trucks and not being able to go to market because of the shutdown.
“People don’t realize our whole food system almost collapsed,” Peterson stated.
Many of the speeches made at the RNC were pre-recorded at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, which sits across the street from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
“It all happened so fast,” Peterson said. She flew to Washington D.C., with her husband Gary, to record her speech over the weekend and was back at home Tuesday to watch it at home.
She was not nervous because she has public speaking experience and because it was pre-recorded she knew if she made a mistake, they could do it over.
Peterson and a speechwriter wrote the speech in about an hour and a half. She saw the speech and spent two hours doing revisions.
Peterson concluded, “whether you support President Trump or not, this is great exposure for Grantsburg and Wisconsin and the agriculture industry.”