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Tell Your Story, Share Your Passion

I
have always had a passion for educating women about farm markets, mostly
because so many women feel like the lone corn stalk in a field of soybeans when
talking about the markets in a largely male-dominated field.

Well,
this column is a departure from my usual marketing topics, because recently I
have come to feel like that lone corn stalk again. Every once in a while you
have to step back and look at the big picture of the business we are in. And I
am learning the importance of becoming an advocate for this amazing business of
agriculture.

Being an advocate for agriculture is nothing
new, and I encourage you to continue to spread the word regarding what
agriculture means to you and why you choose the lifestyle you choose, and tell
others the depth and breadth of your conviction. This is first and foremost on
my heart because I have recently moved to a part of the country where
agriculture is appreciated; however, the conviction and the basics of
agricultural education is starkly lacking. My child rides the bus and explains to
other kids about the food in their lunch box and where it comes from. The field
trip to the local grocery store talks about how to make healthy food choices, but
does not teach where all this food comes from. And so my eyes were opened, and
I realized I had a story to share.

Being
involved in agriculture is an amazing blessing. Being a woman in agriculture is
even more of a blessing. Over the years I have formed tremendous bonds with
women who farm, ranch or live in rural settings whose love of agriculture is on
display in everything they do and say. These women have faced adversity,
enjoyed success, raised families and have done it with grace. 

When you sit and listen to their words, their
passion, their causes, you can’t help but want to soak up their words and feel
what they feel. Despite the joys or discomforts that they may go through, one
thing is clear--their passion for agriculture.

Today less than 1% of our population works in
agriculture and less than 2% of the population lives on farms. Interest in how
food is raised is increasing daily even though less than 10% of a U.S. family’s
income is spent on food. There are many opportunities to tell your agriculture
story. Many farmers have already sensed the need to reconnect with consumers
and are actively telling their story and emphasizing the importance of
environmental stewardship, food safety and good animal care practices.

If you haven’t gotten involved in these
efforts, remember that telling the story of your operation and farming has
impact. It can be as simple as talking to a consumer in a grocery store or
writing a letter to the editor of your local paper or going into a classroom to
share. You can even take it a step further by starting your own blog or using
social networking sites (which many of you already do),  to communicate with consumers -- or even
approaching your local paper about writing a monthly agriculture-based column.

I totally took for granted my blessing of
growing up in rural life until now when I’m surrounded by people who are not
involved in it. Thank you to all the women who have made such an impression on
me. Your passion is overflowing so that I want to pass it on to others.


If you have questions, you can
reach Naomi at



nblohm@stewart-peterson.com



, or post a marketing question on
the Women in Ag Discussion page.


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