Halvorson Combines Freelancing, Farm Broadcasting

About seven months have gone by since Sabrina Halvorson stepped out on her own as a freelance writer and broadcaster. It is time, she says, that was very well-spent.

“I’ve always wanted to just give it a go and be a freelancer, so I just decided to do it,” Halvorson explained. “I set a goal of spending all of 2021 as a freelancer and making it work. Here we are well into the summer, and I have no regrets.”

“It wasn’t as sudden as it may seem,” Halvorson said.

In addition to freelancing for various publications over the course of her 30-year career, she also has tried to establish and maintain professional relationships, like those that started at NAFB.

“However, coming back to NAFB as a freelancer proved a little difficult,” she added.

“There’s not a membership option for freelancers to be broadcast members on their own. Fortunately, one of the stations I freelance for is a member, and I was able to gain membership that way just last month,” she said. “When I fill in at the station, it’s extremely helpful to have access to everything NAFB provides for broadcasters. It really is valuable when you take advantage of everything that’s available.”

Halvorson said there are many differences between freelancing for broadcasting and freelancing as a magazine writer.

“I’ve written for magazines for 20 years. I had my first major international magazine byline when I was 24. It was a hard news article about a court case happening in Central California. At the same time, I was working for a news/talk station in Fresno, California, and had a serial-killer story picked up by the network and go nationwide. It’s only been 20 years since then, but a lot has changed,” she said. “I think there are more opportunities for broadcasters to freelance now than there used to be. Twenty years ago, I don’t think it would have worked for me to send out my serial-killer story to radio networks as a freelancer. Maybe that wouldn’t work now either, but other avenues are growing.”

One of those avenues is podcasts.

“In December, when I decided to be a full-time freelancer, I sent out inquiries to people and companies I wanted to work for. One was the owner of several ag magazines in California that I used to freelance for. As it turned out, he was wanting to create what I call a ‘partner podcast’ for his magazines, and I was just the person to get it started,” Halvorson said.

She contracted for 12 months to be the host of the My Ag Life Daily News Report.

“I get to take his idea and make it work for him. It’s going great! We’re halfway through the year, and I’ve been able to get some really solid interviews on the show for him. And since I’m a freelancer, I’ve been able to explore some other things, as well. I’ve done some science writing and some holiday articles. My favorite non-ag writing is the writing I get to do for a beautiful travel magazine. That’s another thing checked off the bucket list – travel writing.”

She added there are a lot of opportunities for farm broadcasters in podcasting.

“Podcasting will never take the place of a farmer getting her or his ag news on the radio. It just won’t. But, when you think of it as a completely different product, it has a lot of opportunity for broadcasters. My husband, Rusty, and I sometimes get together to do fun interviews that we share on our Ag on Tap podcast. My good friend and former NAFB President Lorrie Boyer just started her Ag Queen podcast, and it’s fantastic. We all have different styles, which benefits the listeners because they get to find the style that speaks to them,” Halvorson said.

As for continuing in broadcasting, Halvorson is currently filling in on some stations when their farm broadcaster is out. NAFB Past President Brian Winnekins gave her that idea.

“He needs someone who can fill in for him when he goes on a trip, and it makes more sense to have a freelancer than to hire someone to work only a week here or there,” she said.

Halvorson is excited to once again be an NAFB member after spending several years actively involved in the organization. She served four years on the board of directors (two as West Region Vice President and two as the Marketing & Promotions Chair) and has served on the mentoring and news service committees. She said the organization has provided her with cherished relationships, professional training, and several opportunities.

“I’ve learned to always be open to new or unexpected opportunities,” she said. “I’m absolutely certain my next perfect opportunity is right around the corner.”