On Tuesday, July 16 a small group of area residents, farmers and farm-to-table advocates toured Gunlogson Farms south of Clarkfield.
There, owner and Marshall Animal Clinic Veterinarian Tracey Westegaard-Gunlogson gave a tour of her family’s farm to educate attendees on crop and livestock production, her family’s life on the farm and how farmers protect the land to provide a safe and affordable food supply.
The event was organized by the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) and the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council as part of their public relations campaign “The R.E.A.L Story”, which promotes “Responsible, Ethical Agriculture for Life” and hopes to better connect nonfarmers with the places their food comes from—or, should, come from.
“We’re doing five of these around the state,” said MSGA Communications Director Dan Lemke. “This is our first event like this, this year, and we think it serves to really connect farmers and non-farmers. And for farmers, it gives them an opportunity to see what someone else is doing. When it comes to our food sometimes there’s a disconnect between what someone thinks and what farmers actually do. Our campaign tries to re-establish that connection and help farmers and non-farmers understand each other’s concerns.”
The Gunlogson’s raise mostly feeder lambs and have about 125 ewes on their farm along with a balanced assortment of cattle, chickens and a large garden that makes them almost food independent.
“We like to get our hands dirty,” said Tracey. “I’m kind of a foodie and really love this stuff. And I think our communities are really out of touch when it comes their food and where it comes from.”
Lemke said the “R.E.A.L Story” tours feature farms of all sizes and interests. One of the reasons the Gunlogson farm was chosen was because of their self sufficiency.
“People trust farmers,” said Lemke. “So why not make farmers the face of the industry. We don’t need to hire someone to tell you about our industry and what we do, we just need to connect people with the farmers themselves.”