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Sharon Rabe

Sharon
Rabe



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Adopt-a-Farm

Adopt-A-Farm

Michigan Farm Bureau’s Adopt-a-Farm program helps media report on local agriculture by pairing newspapers, TV stations and radio stations with one or more local farms for exclusive coverage. News organizations choose the frequency, nature and scope of the reporting. Farm Bureau lines up “adoptee” farms that fit the media’s interest and assist with story ideas and other resources to enhance the coverage.

The possibilities are endless:

“The series itself was perfect for a small weekly. The interviews were as educational to me as they were to many of our readers, whose positive comments about the series made me wish I could have written stories more often. The program proved to be a win-win situation for us. Our readers really enjoyed the series, and putting the time and effort into the stories opened some doors to the ag community, making it easier to continue to cover this vital industry in the Thumb.”

—Tom Montgomery
Cass City Chronicle editor
2002 Adopt-A-Farm partner
  • Regular weather-related crop updates from one or more local farmers
  • A one-time, in-depth feature profiling several generations of a prominent local farm family
  • A series of young farmer profiles to showcase agriculture’s next generation
  • A detailed, hour-by-hour “day on the farm” feature
  • A regular look into life on the farm throughout a calendar year or growing season
  • A series profiling different types of local farms, illustrating agricultural diversity
  • A regular “Ask a Farmer” question-and-answer feature
  • Serial profiling of local farm markets and other direct-to-consumer operations to inventory consumers' opportunities to eat, buy and shop local
  • Adopt-a-Crop! Follow a specific commodity from seed to serving, tracing the steps from planting and cultivation through harvest, transportation and processing into a familiar store-shelf and kitchen-cupboard product. Maybe top it off with a Michigan recipe"

Adopt-a-Farm paves the way for news organizations to get inside Michigan’s second-largest industry, giving reporters solid contacts and a steady stream of informative, local content for their publications and broadcasts. And their readers, listeners and viewers enjoy unique insight into the vital but poorly-understood industry that feeds us every day.

Here’s a look at the program’s many success stories:

“We had a tremendous amount of positive feedback both from the ag community and the non-ag community. Just out of the blue people would say, "Oh yeah we enjoy reading your articles in the paper.- It was just amazing."”

Denny Huehl
Washtenaw County dairy farmer
“Adopted” in 2008 by Heritage Newspapers writer Ed Freundl
  • Donna Daines, a feature writer for the Marshall Community Ad-visor and a self-described “city slicker,” adopted a Calhoun County farm for an engaging series that blended first-person observations of farm life with statistics on local agriculture.
  • Photographer Andrew Skinner illustrated the asparagus season in words and pictures by profiling a local asparagus farm for a photo story published in Oceana’s Herald Journal.
  • Tawas City radioman Kevin Allen of WKJC partnered with the president of the Ogemaw County Farm Bureau for monthly dialogue on local agricultural concerns and happenings.
  • The Grand Rapids Press used the program as a foundation for a Labor Day business feature exploring the ambitions of local young farmers and the hurdles they face in pursuing their dreams to farm.
  • Oakland Press reporter Bob Gross profiled one of suburban Detroit’s last surviving dairy farms with an in-depth series chronicling how the farm family maintains traditional practices in the shadow of urban sprawl. Gross’ articles were picked up by the Associated Press and reprinted in papers statewide.
  • Arenac Independent reporter Lesley Stanley surveyed the diversity of local agriculture, shedding light on the production of sugar beets, pickling cucumbers, soybeans, dairy and profiling a successful organic producer.
  • Heritage Newspapers writer Ed Freundl explored every facet of life on a modern dairy farm with his yearlong profile of Huehl Acres near Chelsea. With almost unprecedented depth and quality, Freundl’s coverage illuminated aspects of modern agriculture rarely given a second glance in the mainstream media, including upkeep and maintenance activities outside the growing season and the vital role women play on the farm.
  • Dean Cousino of the Monroe Evening News continued his long tradition of outstanding farm reporting by adopting the Seiler family dairy farm near Dundee. Cousino’s compelling writing—impeccably illustrated by staff shooter Bryan Bosch—uniquely captured the dynamics of a multi-generational family farm and shed light on the little-understood stresses inherent to a business always at the whim of Mother Nature.
  • Hillsdale Daily News readers who didn’t previously know the difference between a Jersey and a Holstein got a crash-course in modern farming thanks to a series of article by writer Amy Bell, who profiled the dairy farm Jennifer and Bruce Lewis operate near Jonesville.

So what are you waiting for?

For more information or a hookup with your local Farm Bureau’s “adoption planners,” contact MFB Local Media Specialist Nikki Baker via e-mail or phone: 800-292-2680, ext. 6584.