From the Desk of Lynn Woolf: February 26, 2013

Lynn Woolf

How you connect people with agriculture is something to be proud of. There are so many signs that consumers need that connection. The popularity of Dodge’s “Year of the Farmer” commercial is one example. There were almost 14 million views of the video on YouTube at last check.

I was reminded again when I had the good fortune to tour the Walton Rural Life Center, in Walton, Kan. The Center is a charter elementary school for kindergarten through fourth grade. It incorporates agriculture into project-based learning. From the “eggs for sale” sign out front to the lineup of work gloves and rubber boots in the hallway, there is no doubt that agriculture is influencing knowledge.

One class tends the chickens, another cultivates plants in the greenhouse, and others care for the cattle, sheep and pigs. Along the way, they learn math, science and much more.

“We’re not teaching them to be farmers. We’re teaching them to be good citizens,” says kindergarten teacher Rhonda Roux.

Here’s what made me think of you during the visit. Roux says that education has become too structured.

“Learning can’t be scripted,” she says.

A scripted day. Sound familiar? Many of your customers’ days are built around routine and schedule. That’s OK, but not enough to make them happy. You help your customers “unscript” their lives and reconnect with the land.  

Walton School
The Walton Rural Life Center in Walton, Kan., is a charter school that uses agriculture to teach project-based learning. 

You have a great opportunity to showcase your role on March 19, National Ag Day. This year is the 40th anniversary of the event. The Agriculture Council hosts Ag Day and plans nationwide activities and promotions in coordination with sponsors and ag associations. Check out the council’s resources to help with publicity ideas, including special events. Also, check with your manufacturers. They may have collateral marketing materials you can use.

Make sure to include rural lifestyle equipment along with larger ag tractors in any promotion. Farms of every size are important today, regardless of whether they are feeding just their families or the world. Here’s an interesting fact from USDA numbers released on February 19: 25% of farms have an average of 55 acres and sales of less than $2,500.

So, take ownership of how you support big and small agriculture on Ag Day and throughout this “Year of the Farmer.”

By the way, the Walton school has a waiting list for students through 2018.

P.S. Nominations are open until March 1 for our Dealership of the Year. Submit your dealership today using this short online form.

Lynn Woolf,
Managing Editor
Rural Lifestyle Dealer