Country woman goes to agriculture boot camp
ROCK LAKE –Carie Marshall-Moore, a Minot-area native and farmer-rancher from the Rock Lake area, had the opportunity this winter to be a part of extensive trainings designed to help her deliver agriculture’s message across different platforms.
Moore was the first volunteer in the North Dakota Farm Bureau membership selected to attend the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Women’s Leadership Program, which held its spring session of “Women’s Communications Boot Camp” in March in Washington, D.C. With financial help from her local county Farm Bureau and the North Dakota Farm Bureau (NDFB), she was one of 16 U.S. farm and ranch women who graduated on March 25.
Moore is vice president of the Towner County Farm Bureau and past vice president of the NDFB Promotion & Education Committee. Excited to take this next step, Moore participated in the four-day, intensive training led by trained AFBF staff, who guided the recruits through advocacy, public speaking, communicating with elected officials, social media strategy, targeted messaging and working with the media on local, state and national levels.
One afternoon Moore was able to meet virtually with elected North Dakota officials.
“Senate was in session, but I did talk with staff members for Cramer, Hoeven and Armstong. A growing concern facing North Dakota that we discussed was ag labor, from private crop farmers to large-scale livestock facilities,” she said.
From the four focus topics offered during Boot Camp, Moore chose sustainability, more specifically rural sustainability.
“Small towns are losing programs as schools consolidate, and many students don’t consider their hometown as their future. Farms and ranches are becoming more diversified and we need people of all backgrounds to take an interest in that. The larger they become, the more opportunities there are for tailored employment opportunities. If youth become a part of their community while they are in it and get involved, they take a personal pride and ownership in that — separate from their parents’ and family’s roles in it. Our NDSU Extension has been working diligently in getting people involved in local leadership, no matter what your age or profession,” Moore said.
AFBF staff went through participants’ regularly used social media accounts and suggested changes.
“There are a lot of people doing an amazing job sharing agriculture, but pinpointing a specific audience is going to make a larger impact in helping people connect the dots between agriculture and urban lifestyles,” Moore said.
She uses the analogy of Coffee and Tractors, because she depends on both to do her job every day.
“Men going to a coffee counter to order a specialty coffee for their wife the first few times ranks about the same as a woman going to the parts counter at the equipment dealer, asking for a certain part,” she said. “Even if they leave it outside for you, it has your name on it, just like your coffee via mobile order,” Moore laughs. “Espresso machines are mini steam engines and when we look at all the diversity of coffee, it’s no different than all the types of tractors or farms. There is a need and demand for each and there is room for them all. I think if someone can put a specialty coffee shop in an equipment dealer, that might be the key to pleasing everyone to lowering farm stress during planting and harvest!”
Moore also worked with the Animal Ag Allies, an initiative of the Animal Agriculture Alliance that empowers farmers, ranchers and practicing veterinarians to be outspoken advocates for agriculture online and within their communities.
“I applied for this program that partnered with Zoetis to better understand the sensitive issues relating to modern animal agriculture and also our environmental resources,” Moore said. “The N.D. Livestock Alliance has done amazing work promoting animal agriculture. I enjoy working with them and helping to positively expand dairy and swine in the state. Agriculture is ever growing and changing. We continually want to do and be better, not only for our family’s future, but for everyone’s. If farms and ranches succeed, small towns succeed. It’s a full circle, and labor is a missing part of that circle. Many think of agriculture as a job where you work countless hours and have no stability, but that isn’t always the case. With dairy and swine, for example, your hours are more tailored, your tasks more specific and, depending on the location, you may receive vacation and other benefits that you might not receive from working for a small family farmer. This can be more appealing to women and youth in school who may need or want a more flexible schedule but still want to work in agriculture.”
The American Farm Bureau Federation and the Animal Agriculture Alliance presented Moore with some tough topics and the communication tools needed to address those effectively. She said she is extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with many great agriculture organizations, both state and nationally.
Moore communicates about agriculture on her updated Facebook page at “Tractors + Coffee” and on her blog at https://tractorroundsand coffeegrounds.Wordpress.com.