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Published September 14, 2012, 12:00 AM

Soybean farmer tells ‘REAL Story’

Rothsay, Minn. - Kurt Krueger spent his high school years in a city of about 2,500 people surrounded by farm fields, but he remembers classmates who knew little about agriculture.

Rothsay, Minn. - Kurt Krueger spent his high school years in a city of about 2,500 people surrounded by farm fields, but he remembers classmates who knew little about agriculture.

Now, the 45-year-old corn and soybean farmer is part of an effort to tell the “REAL Story” of agriculture to nonfarm audiences via website videos, social media and advertisements in places as unexpected as opera programs.

The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council’s “REAL Story” campaign – Responsible, Ethical Agriculture for Life – features farmers from across the state.

Krueger, who served as president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association board from June 2010 to June 2012 and is currently its treasurer, said the idea for the campaign arose when members of a joint council-association committee were looking at the research and promotion budget funded by soybean check-off dollars.

“And we realized one time that about two-thirds of our budget was being spent advertising toward agriculture,” he said. “We felt as though we were preaching to the choir and probably being repetitive.”

The council contracted with national marketing firm Farmer, Lumpe & McClelland Ltd., which has an office in Wayzata, to reach out to suburban and metro areas.

The campaign has spread its message through billboards and in-farm publications, Twitter and Facebook, and in videos at www.youtube.com/

user/minnesotasoybean.

“The main purpose of the REAL Story is to start educating folks and making them realize that what we’re doing out here is a very good thing and what we’re producing is safe food for all to appreciate and enjoy,” Krueger said.

Krueger grew up on the same family farm he now operates in Wilkin County near Rothsay.

After graduating from Barnesville High School, he earned an ag economics degree from North Dakota State University and worked for three years as a loan officer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

He spent another three years as a private bank loan officer in Verndale before moving home in 1996 to take over the family farm from his retiring father and mother, now 80 and 77 years old.

“Whatever help I have usually comes from them,” said Krueger, who is single.

Krueger said he didn’t mind being a loan officer, but he always liked farming, and it presented him with the opportunity to do his own thing.

“I never found myself to be that great of an employee,” he joked.

On the farm, he employed conservation practices to reduce topsoil erosion and save on diesel costs. Biotechnology has allowed him and other farmers to use less pesticide, he said.

Krueger said he hopes informing nonfarm audiences of such practices will stifle fallacies about farming and make people realize the importance of domestic food production.

“As farmers, we’re eating the food we produce, too,” he said. “Of course we wouldn’t produce anything that would jeopardize our kids, grandkids.”

Krueger said he hopes to preserve the farm in case his two nephews, ages 7 and 11, want to take over someday. In the meantime, he plans to keep farming – and letting people know what it’s all about.

“I hope to be here for a lot of years yet,” he said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528

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