Rural communities are often no stranger to tradition and the roots of agriculture or industry that, no doubt, are the reason small towns one day cropped up out of the dusty soil. But have you ever wondered just how far removed from production agriculture some of your neighbors may be? Most folks appreciate the beauty of a golden wheat field just before harvest and even the changing horizon as the neighboring corn field grows higher and higher in the summer heat. They understand that there are hardworking farmers and ranchers behind the meal on their dinner table—but do they make the connection that a lot of production agriculture is happening just down the road in their local community?

Wheatland/Golden Valley County Farm Bureau wanted to make sure that their neighbors were able to put a face to Farm Bureau in their community, linking the consumer to the local producer.

The county, in cooperation with three local grocery stores, provided reusable grocery bags to customers recently as part of their grand Grocery Bag Event.  The bags were designed with agricultural statistics and were filled with information about Montana Farm Bureau, a few fun freebies, but most importantly a newsletter titled the “Producer Profile.” The newsletter introduced two of Wheatland/ Golden Valley County Farm Bureau’s members and explained their role in production agriculture and the community. A few lucky customers also found gift certificates for groceries in their bag.

This project was inspired by the American Farm Bureau’s Our Food Link program, which is intended to “reach consumers of all ages and backgrounds with information about today’s agriculture.” We know  the average American is no longer farming to provide for their family, in fact, they are probably at least three generations removed from the farm.

Montana Farm Bureau members not only "Care for the Country," but they care about their communities.

Wheatland /Golden Valley County saw this project as an opportunity to:

  • Advocate for agriculture

  • Share agricultural education with all ages

  • Introduce the Farm Bureau organization to community members

  • Connect with neighbors and local businesses

  • Give back to the community.

The wonderful thing about this project was that it was very simple to complete and the success was great!

  • It required few volunteers the day of the event

  • A majority of the work was preparation ahead of time

  • During a monthly board meeting, they formed an assembly line to put the bags together.

  • A few members delivered the bags to the grocery stores, where the store clerks took care of distribution throughout the day!

If you are interested in doing a similar Our Food Link project in your community go to:

Other innovative ideas for the MFBF Grocery Bags:

  • Handouts during a local fair or other county event

  • Use them as a recruitment packet for new members complete with MFBF brochures & info!

  • Use them as a welcome packet for new members include the membership benefit information & an MFBF decal!

  • Have a booth at your local Farmer’s Market? MFBF Grocery bags would be great to hand out to customers!

  • Use them as a thank you, filled with local goodies, for someone who has impacted your County Farm Bureau.

Contact your Montana Farm Bureau regional manager for more ideas or information about how to get a project like this started in your own community!