About wagfarms

Mom to 4 busy boys and passionate about all things agriculture!

New Kid on the Block

Promotion and education. Two words that have begun to take on a whole new meaning to me the last few years, as my involvement in Farm Bureau as evolved. But what do those words mean for Farm Bureau?

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s new Promotion & Education Committee is an exciting opportunity to unite efforts being made across the country in our counties, our states…and sharing ideas, efforts and creativity in ways that make sharing the story of agriculture easier. Because we all know that each and every one of us needs to be sharing the story of agriculture…and not just any story, but our story.

P&E Committee

AFBF’s Promotion & Education Committee (L to R): Teribeth Spargo, Missouri; Phyllis Contour, New York; Renee McCauley, Michigan; Chair Chris Hoffman, Pennsylvania; Vice Chair Val Wagner, North Dakota; Hilary Maricle, Nebraska; and Melinda Groth, Minnesota.

The time has come for promotion and education efforts to no longer be riding shotgun with everything else that’s happening – it must be in the driver’s seat.

We read today’s headlines and we get upset over the stories that are being shared about agriculture, yet we’re not out there be loud enough with our own stories – sharing our own successes, telling our own happy endings. Those times have begun to change, but it’s not easy, and it doesn’t happen without a lot of hard work…and teamwork as well.

Promotion and education is not just about school programs and handing teachers information, although that’s important, too. It’s about reaching mothers at the grocery store, editors at the newspaper, readers online, friends in social media – the opportunities are endless!

P & E iconOur committee is made up of a group of diverse, driven and dedicated individuals that are determined to ensure that we create innovative ways for states to share ideas and resources, as well as set a solid path for the future of this committee.

Led by Chris Hoffman, committee chair from Pennsylvania, we’re working towards preparing for next month’s AFBF FUSION Conference in Nashville. Other committee members include Phyllis Couture, New York; Melinda Groth, Minnesota; Hilary Maricle, Nebraska; Renee McCauley, Michigan; Teribeth Spargo, Missouri; and me, Val Wagner, North Dakota.

Will it be hard work? Of course. Worth it? Every second.

wagfarms is Val Wagner, a North Dakota farmer and rancher. The Wag’n Tales blog features stories from this mom of four who loves farm life and invites readers to come along for the ride. Follow Val on Twitter (@wagfarms) and find her on Facebook. She is vice chair of AFBF’s national Promotion & Education Committee.

#AFBF15

Lions and Tigers and Porcupines and Books … Oh My!

If you want to wake up a room of people, feed them great pancakes, give them great books, let them raise money for a great cause and bring out an array of amazing animals with an entertaining speaker to boot. This morning’s Flapjack Fundraiser gave us all of that and more.

It wouldn't be a Flapjack Fundraiser without flapjacks!

It wouldn’t be a Flapjack Fundraiser without flapjacks!

Jack Hanna provided every attendee an education that would be hard to match, even with the wonders of Google and the magic of the Internet. And an experience for a few children that they won’t soon forget! (Touching a python?)

The 2015 Book of the Year! "The apple orchard riddle," by Margaret McNamara.

The 2015 Book of the Year! “The Apple Orchard Riddle,” by Margaret McNamara.

And let’s not forget the book! “The Apple Orchard Riddle,” by Margaret McNamara and G. Brian Karas is the 2015 American Farm Bureau Foundation Accurate Ag Book of the Year. This book introduces children to the teacher Mr. Tiffin and his students and asks them to solve this riddle: “Show me a little red house with no windows and no door, but with a star inside.”

This story of a third-grade class on a field trip is a great way to introduce children to the wonders that can be found at an orchard. And don’t forget the supplemental materials that can be purchased to used with these books, making them great tools, as well as gifts, for any classroom.

wagfarms is Val Wagner, a North Dakota farmer and rancher. The Wag’n Tales blog features stories from this mom of four who loves farm life and invites readers to come along for the ride. Follow Val on Twitter (@wagfarms) and find her on Facebook. She is vice chair of AFBF’s national Promotion & Education Committee.

A New Focus

I made a quick switch in plans on Sunday. And sometimes making a change in your schedule can make all the difference in the world.

The change? I went to lunch. Not just any lunch, but the Women’s Leadership luncheon. And the difference that was made in my life was inspired by one of the greatest women that I have had the pleasure to meet, Debbie Lyons-Blythe.

She spoke at the luncheon, talking about her role as America’s Farm Mom for 2012, and other projects and programs, but the message that resonated most came from her talking about her advocacy efforts in agriculture. And it spoke to me directly.

As Debbie so bluntly put it, “It’s no longer just about telling our story, we need to start answering questions.”

I need I hear that and read that daily. I need to start answering more questions. Don’t get me wrong, I will still need to write my familiar family stories, including my own voice, but I cannot be afraid to answer the questions that are asked.

The new year has just begun, and I believe that I may have finally found a resolution worth keeping: I will answer more questions.

And as a mother of four boys, I’m pretty sure I have experience in that.

wagfarms is Val Wagner, a North Dakota farmer and rancher. The Wag’n Tales blog features stories from this mom of four who loves farm life and invites readers to come along for the ride. Follow Val on Twitter (@wagfarms) and find her on Facebook. She is a member of the North Dakota Farm Bureau’s Promotion & Education Committee.

Let the Journey Begin

One of the most beautiful things about Farm Bureau and the Annual Convention is the gathering of friends. There may be miles that separate us, but at least once a year we get together and it’s like we just left the last meeting.

I’m looking forward to catching up. As well as meeting new people and experiencing new things.

Like hog hunting.

One of the views from our blind...before dark, of course. We hunted from 4:30 to about 10:45...PM.

One of the views from our blind…before dark, of course. We hunted from 4:30 to about 10:45…PM.

Yes, I said hog hunting. Thanks to friends located all across the US, including Texas, and the wonders of the Internet, myself and a colleague took in a night of hog hunting in a blind.

Don’t worry, not a hog was harmed during our excursion, as much as we tried. But the story surrounding the whole experience was worth it all.

The view to our left. Four hogs actually came close to our blind...and that's where the story gets even more interesting. But it was a great experience!

The view to our left. Four hogs actually came close to our blind…and that’s where the story gets even more interesting. But it was a great experience!

And that’s the beauty of this meeting. Make some friends, network, reach outside your comfort zone a bit, but above all else…make some memories.

wagfarms is Val Wagner, a North Dakota farmer and rancher.  The Wag’n Tales blog features stories from this mom of four who loves farm life and invites readers to come along for the ride.  Follow Val on Twitter (@wagfarms) and find her on Facebook.  She is a member of the North Dakota Farm Bureau’s Promotion & Education Committee.

A Little Slice of History

This morning, my husband and I took time out of our jam-packed schedule to stop and have a few minutes of our morning archived for future generations.

What am I talking about?

We were given the opportunity to have a 40 minute interview recorded through Story Corps, and it will be archived in the Library of Congress. Talk about an amazing opportunity.

The only issue we had? Apparently if you take a cell phone and cover it in foam, my normally talkative husband clams up. That’s right, Mr. Social seemed to have an issue with keeping a conversation going with me. But never fear, the wonderful woman assisting us jumped in at the right moments, helping him open up and tell even more wonderful stories.

The best part of all was knowing that this information will be recorded for all of posterity, allowing our children, our grandchildren and even their grandchildren the opportunity to hear our thoughts, memories and plans for the future. It’s not every day that you get an opportunity like that, and we have Farm Bureau to thank for it.

If you ever have an opportunity to tell your story, be sure to do it. Not just your plans for the future, but where you’ve been, how you made it to where you are—including the trials and tribulations.

Amazing moments in amazing places—it’s the Farm Bureau way.

wagfarms is Val Wagner, a North Dakota farmer and rancher. The Wag’n Tales blog features stories from this mom of four who loves farm life and invites readers to come along for the ride. Follow Val on Twitter (@wagfarms) and find her on Facebook. She is a member of the North Dakota Farm Bureau’s Promotion & Education Committee.

The Social Part of Media

This evening I was fortunate enough to be able to take part in an amazing reception that was sponsored by Monsanto in cooperation with RFD-TV to give thanks to an amazing group of people…the media.

It was a great opportunity to meet some truly wonderful people that work so hard to help us get our stories out there. But I did catch a few of them having fun, like…

Willie Vought and Frank Holdenmyer of Farm Progress Companies visit with Janice Person of Monsanto.

Willie Vought and Frank Holdenmyer of Farm Progress Companies visit with Janice Person of Monsanto.

JP started off in her street clothes at the RFD-TV studio...

JP started off in her street clothes at the RFD-TV studio…

Then broke out her inner Marty Stuart!

Then broke out her inner Marty Stuart!

There were some Rock Stars with dressing rooms!

There were some Rock Stars with dressing rooms!

And one of the coolest pumpkins I've ever seen!

And one of the coolest pumpkins I’ve ever seen!

And even I got the chance to feel a little star treatment!

And even I got the chance to feel a little star treatment!

Thank you to all who made it possible!

wagfarms is Val Wagner, a North Dakota farmer and rancher. The Wag’n Tales blog features stories from this mom of four who loves farm life and invites readers to come along for the ride. Follow Val on Twitter (@wagfarms) and find her on Facebook. She is a member of the North Dakota Farm Bureau’s Promotion & Education Committee.

Lessons Learned Through Flapjacks

Things I’ve learned from Jack Hanna, the entertainer at this morning’s Foundation Flapjack Fundraiser:

- Not all penguins need cold weather
I learned from Jack Hanna that not all penguins need cold weather. In fact, some penguins wouldn't make it in my state, North Dakota!

I learned from Jack Hanna that not all penguins need cold weather. In fact, some penguins wouldn’t make it in my state, North Dakota!

- Don’t order certain coffees from Starbucks
- A sloth doesn’t move during the day…which reminds me of a few people I know!
 
This morning’s Flapjack Fundraiser was an amazing opportunity to see all the great things the Foundation has done the last year, meet a few new people and share a few early morning laughs. What a great start to the day!
 

wagfarms is Val Wagner, a North Dakota farmer and rancher. The Wag’n Tales blog features stories from this mom of four who loves farm life and invites readers to come along for the ride. Follow Val on Twitter (@wagfarms) and find her on Facebook. She is a member of the North Dakota Farm Bureau’s Promotion & Education Committee.