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Erin Brown / Grand Vale Creative

Farmers, tell your stories

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — When Nancy Wulfekuhle's father was still farming, "He wasn't going to go to town and tell people what he did. He just went out and did his work. Why would anyone question it?" she said.

But times have changed, and agriculturalists need to help others understand what they do. "How do tell our story? How do we communicate what we do?" she said.

Wulfekuhle, with MinnDak Farmers Cooperative, and Lauren Proulx, with the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers, spoke Feb. 22 at the International Crop Expo in Grand Forks, N.D.

Though geared primarily for soybeans/dry beans, potatoes and small grains, the event offered sessions of general interest. One of them was Wulfekuhle and Proulx's presentation, "Telling your story: Tips to better communicate farming to the non-farm public."

Wulfekuhle said agriculturalists need to stress "facts, not fear."

For instance, "We use less land, water and chemicals (than we used to). And this reduces our cost and environmental footprint," she said.

Agriculturalists "have to advocate for agriculture. We have to lead the conversation," she said. "We have to help people understand that what we do every day is in alignment with what they're thinking.

She suggested "Communication with EASE," a process built on "Engage, Acknowledge, Share and Earn Trust."

"We have a great story to tell, and we just need to get our message out there," Wulfekuhle said.

Agriculturalists often find it difficult to tell their stories, but the results can justify the effort, Proulx said.

"Maybe if you change that person's mind, they'll tell their neighbor. And it will snowball and change our world," she said.