emily buck

Marion County member explains life on the farm at Smithsonian

As part of American Farm Bureau’s “GO” team, Ohio Farm Bureau member Emily Buck knew she might be called upon to be a spokesperson for Farm Bureau and agriculture, but she never imagined that call would come from the Smithsonian.

“It’s like completing the bucket list item you never knew you had,” Buck said, with a laugh.

The world’s largest museum and research complex in Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian hosts frequent Ask a Farmer public programs where visitors video chat with farmers from their homes and fields across the country.

While holding a baby lamb in her arms, Buck spent about 45 minutes in April answering visitors’ questions regarding farm life in general and raising sheep in particular from her home in Marion County.

The opportunity came Buck’s way through her involvement in AFBF’s Partners in Agricultural Leadership (PAL) program. PAL is designed to enhance leadership skills built through an individual’s participation in AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet, Achievement Award, Excellence in Agriculture Award and/or the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee.

“I got a lot of questions about what happens to sheep on a farm,” she said, noting that many school-aged children on end-of-the-year field trips came through the museum during her time on the program. “I talked about the history of lamb meat and how healthy lamb meat is.”

Buck also received questions about banking, farm equipment, the volatility of the agriculture market and how weather affects farmers.

Ask A Farmer programs are held on the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza on the first floor of the National Museum of American History. While some questions are submitted by the public ahead of time, many questions are asked and answered in real time.

The “GO” (grassroots organization) team is a group of farmers who have been through AFBF programs and can speak on behalf of farmers, Buck said. She said roughly 120-150 people came through the Ask A Farmer area while she was available.

“It was a cool opportunity,” she said, adding that she would be open to participating in the program again. She’s pleased that Farm Bureau is taking advantage of being part of opportunities like Ask A Farmer and “telling people…what we do.”

Buck is also an associate professor of agricultural communication at Ohio State University.

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Kelli Milligan Stammen is director of publications for the Ohio Farm Bureau.