The Dakota Resource Council hopes to personalize the farmers and ranchers currently struggling in the farm economy, according to Sean Arithson, communications coordinator for the group.
"Our goal is to put a face to those struggling farmers and ranchers," he said. "For years they've been fighting the crisis. There is a lot going on."
The first of four parts of a blog was published online on July 1 at www.ndfarmcrisis.com. The initial segment is titled "Trade War Stories."
The segment includes brief biographies of about a half-dozen North Dakota farmers and their comments about the current trade situation, especially with China.
For example, Jim Dotzenrod from Wyndmere and a North Dakota senator, comments on how the current administration has cost agriculture export markets.
“We should be able to live on trade. Farmers have been concentrating for the past thirty years to create these win-win situations with our customers," he is quoted in blog entry.
Other farmers take a long-term look at the problem.
Travis Anderson, a farmer from the Warwick, North Dakota area, notes that the ending of the Conservation Reserve Program in the Obama administration put more land into production and increased the amounts of corn and soybeans produced driving down prices.
Other topics will include farming in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, dealing with flooding and other weather challenges and market prices. The goal to each blog post is to not only tell the story of what is happening but convey that message through the experiences of real people.
Arithson said the blog posts are also shared to social media platforms such as Facebook.
"We were a little nervous about that," he said. "There is always someone out there that is going to be negative about everything. There has been no negativity on social media so far."
One Facebook comment to a segment of the blog that said farmers "Don't farm to get handouts," replied that farm programs weren't handouts because "you guys feed a nation and world," Arithson said.
Arithson said new segments of the blog will roll out each month.
"It is working as intended," he said. "We knew it was a struggle for farmers and ranchers. We wanted to put faces with the names."