Dr. Joe Jeffrey
Founder & President of the Official Post Observers
Joe Jeffrey, a man for all posts… (By Bob Wallace, who’s known him too long to lie for him or about him…)
Farmer/rancher Dr. Joe Jeffrey is a Renaissance Man. Embodying the spirit of an adventurer, he has boundless curiosity and, fortunately for us, an overwhelming desire to share his considerable finding with others.
Joe has created a series of entertaining and fascinating programs out of such seemingly ordinary objects as fence posts, “uncanny” things like outhouses and basic necessities such as food. But to really appreciate Joe, you need a little background.
How To Get The Most Out Of A Post
Some twenty years ago Joe decided there was a great untold story about one of the most important building blocks that tamed the Old West. No, it wasn’t the much bally-hooed barbed wire, the invention that usually gets all the credit. It was the lowly, oft-maligned yet sturdy, fence post that became the focus of Joe’s untiring pursuit of the truth…
As he began researching posts, Joe discovered more types than he could shake a stick at so he began photographing them wherever he traveled. The result is a slide presentation complete with a rib-tickling narrative and a roll of “O.P.O.” (Official Post Observer) stickers to hand out to each audience after they have become officially trained in “observation techniques.”
Joe has found that posts know no boundaries and he takes some license with his program. He’s found that besides support for fences, posts are a indispensable part of our everyday lives. In one of his slides he shows proof positive by pointing out at least 17 different kinds of posts, including people, goal posts, post office boxes and Post Toasties, to name just a few.
While some folks in the city may think fence posts are always made of wood, Joe quickly dispels that myth with pictures of every imaginable type of material used to support otherwise helpless wire. Metal, concrete, rock, rubber and entire automobiles have been used and Joe’s found most of ‘em. But he’s always on the lookout for more to improve and change in his 140-slide show.
A true connoisseur of fence posts, Joe has earned the name “Post Toaster” by speaking to well over 100,000 people in nearly half of these United States and in Canada.
But posts aren’t the only thing Joe has observed over the years. Growing up on a ranch, he has seen and appreciated the importance of:
How the REA “Wiped Out” the WPA
Joe has gathered a second collection of photographs detailing the disappearance of the “backyard biffy,” the backyard beauties or what some folks still call, “the outhouse.”
There are all types of outhouses, perhaps as many as there are posts, thanks to the ingenuity of folks who lived in a quieter, simpler time. Stately two-story outhouses and oasis’ of another kind on the Sahara Desert share space in this lively program guaranteed to give the city folks a better understanding of the days before modern conveniences made trips to the garden path a matter of choice rather than necessity!
But there’s still more to the man show drives a 1917 seven-passenger “Jeffery” auto and a 1949 canary-yellow Packard, and collects old books like Elbert Hubbards, O.S. Marden and, of course, joke books of all kinds. Joe also delivers “You Are What You Eat,” a humorous look at the food we consume and what we can do to live healthier lives.
You Are What You Eat
Yes, Joe has another program chock-full of fascinating facts about the foods we eat. As always, Joe delivers his message with a slice of humor and an infectious style that continues to win him friends all over the country.
While Joe is a cattle feeder, he gives a balanced view of what is good for folks while keeping smiles on their faces. He amazes his listeners with facts and figures about food production in this country and around the world. How do folks react to all of these presentations! Well, as they say:
“The Proof Is In The Pudding”“Thanks for coming…the women were looking for posts all the way home as you suggested.”
- Kansas State Cooperative Extension Service
“On behalf of the board, I want to thank you for speaking to our group…You were very well received.”
- Western Stock Growers Association, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
“I certainly enjoyed your discussion on the ‘Back Yard Beauties.’”
- Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association
“We heard many wonderful comments…You certainly did make us think about the food we eat and about many regulations imposed by our government.”
- Amy Deardorff-American Heart Association, Nebraska Affiliate
“I was fascinated by your presentation…Only one bad thing…we keep checking fenceposts every place we drive!”
- Bob Garey, Executive Director, Nebraska Funeral Directors Association
Joe's Been Busy
Joe has been involved in countless agricultural and political activities throughout the region and the state with good reason. He remains fiercely committed to the independent spirit of his ancestors who, in 1874 saw the promise of land along the Platte River, land for which he and his cousins are now responsible.
Joe went to a one-room country school within sight of his home and he has been expanding his horizons ever since. He attended Colorado State University and earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1960.
In spite of his heavy civic involvement, Joe spends a lot of time helping run the Jeffrey Brothers’ Robb Ranch, located 10 miles southeast of Lexington, Nebraska. During his life on the Platte he has seen vast changes as abundant water from irrigation projects have helped the river valley blossom into one of the richest agricultural resources in the nation.
When Joe isn’t workin’ cattle, chasin’ em or fixin’ fence, he’s on the road to some old or new stomping ground to either speak to another group or to listen and learn.
Joe’s wife Dianne, an accomplished artist recognized throughout the state and region, often accompanies him on his journeys.
If you are worried that Joe’s program will be a dry recitation about the history of those apparently mundane “things” that hold up “Bobwire,” or about outdoor rustic privies, or the importance of proper nutrition, you can relax. Joe will make every minute of his program one to remember and chuckle about long after he’s gone home. He’ll keep you “posted” and you’ll never look at things in quite the same way again.
Dr. Joe Jeffrey, O.P.O.