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Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
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Why would a farmer or rancher create a blog?

The title of this post is a question I’ve been asked several times. It seems people don’t understand what would lead a farmer to set up and maintain a blog. That sort of writing and content creation used to be the sort of thing communications professionals laid claim to. The process seemed intimidating to others. But social media changed all of that and has given rise to a new type of content – blogs, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages that represent people’s individual passions.

But why farmers would want to blog is a question I’ve heard many times, even here on the blog as Eva replied to a previous post saying: “Apart from understanding from the outside world, what is there to gain from social media for farmers? I understand that the link to the financial world and the internet in general is very useful, but social media for marketing/branding is not that relevant in the case of farmers… or is it? Correct me if I am wrong”

As I told Eva, the reply is something I feel is best left to the farmers and ranchers who have decided to take that leap. Luckily, I have video of Val Wagner of Monango, ND speaking at the recent 140 Conference Small Town to answer the question.

Watching this video several times as I sat down to write the blog post to accompany it, I found myself getting chills as she said:

“I started a blog called Wag’n Tales and there, I tell my story. I want to make sure that when my four boys grow up. And if they decide to farm, if they decide to ranch, if they decide to stay in rural North Dakota, that their experience, their legacy wasn’t lost on my watch.

“I do what I can, so the consumers, those people out there, know what is happening in my backyard. So they know where there food is from, they know where it is produced, they know what I do and why I do it, and they can ask me questions if they want to.”

Wow. That drives her to stay up late after exhausting days of doing chores with the cattle, and chasing the four boys, taking care of their youngest son’s unique dietary needs and working with her husband Mark to harvest crops and…. The millions of other things working parents do. In fact, she explains that in order to attend the conference, she had to arrange for 14 people to help cover for her while she was gone. She walked through a typical day that ended with getting out her laptop after the 10 pm news ends:

“I hear time and time again people say that people don’t have time for social media. Nobody has time for anything. You must take the time. You must find it valuable enough to want to take the time do those things and make sure that your story is told. Whether it is about living in corporate America, about living on a farm somewhere, wherever you are at. Your story is valuable and people want to hear it.”

See Val’s entire 140 conference presentation on the conference’s video channel.

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