Category: Prairie Farmer

Europe is desperate to save small farms

We normally talk here about stories from American farms, and rightly so.
But this month, with some help from our European colleagues, we’re flipping the switch to find the story inside the troubled, complex European Union farm scene. Europe is a significant trading partner, and the drama surrounding farming that’s unfolded recently across the entire continent is alarming.
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U.S. and Europe: How farmers handle stress

What’s Your Story? Farmers struggle with their mental health and with high levels of stress across the U.S. No surprise, it’s happening in Europe, too. Here’s why and what to do about it.
The agricultural export story coming out of Ireland these days is upbeat. Irish food, drink and horticulture exports were up 22% last year, reaching a record high of 16.7 billion euros ($417.8 billion).

That’s good news.

Photo credit: Canadian Mental Health Association

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In farming and beyond, everyone wants to know you’re real

Musicians struggled in the early 1980s — but not because of sex, drugs, or rock and roll, the usual causes.

Instead, for many of them, their nemesis was video.

And it’s all because of MTV. When the music channel debuted in 1981, musicians had to become actors overnight. Video support for new releases was a key to success, and performers went from fronting a band to following a script.
Photo credit: Etsy

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The radical middle needs to hear from farmers

Americans are nagged to no end about their diets. The Centers for Disease Control, for example, relentlessly chides consumers for eating less than 10% of their daily recommended fruit-and-vegetable intake.

The center says that leads to all kinds of health problems and disease. But who’s to blame?

Photo credit: Cushman & Wakefield Food & Beverage

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Make time to talk about your farm

I’m pleased to now be contributing a monthly column to Illinois’ Prairie Farmer, called “What’s Your Story?” It’s all about tips and reasons to help producers reach consumers and decision makers. If those groups are better informed, policy creation and buying decisions should be more balanced.

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Urban Cowboy

Raising awareness and promoting dialogue about current food and agriculture issues.


Headshot of Owen Roberts

Owen Roberts is a faculty member in the Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications program at the University of Illinois. As an agricultural journalist, he is the past president of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists and a lifetime achievement award recipient from the Canadian Farm Writers' Federation. His programs and research papers have been recognized nationally and internationally through awards from the Journal of Applied Communications, the National Agri-Marketing Association, the Association for Communications Excellence, and others.