AGvocate of the week: Bonnie Mohr

AGvocate defined: anyone who advocates for the agriculture industry, anyone who supports the agriculture industry or works to tell the agriculture story is an AGvocate.

Bonnie Mohr,

Glencoe, Minn.

Q: What is your agriculture background?

A: I grew up on a crop and dairy farm by St. George, Minn., with my parents and seven siblings. We grew up milking cows, walking beans, stacking hay and learned about responsibility and hard work. We also enjoyed a lot of the simple pleasures of country living and also were active in 4-H and FFA. The county fair was the biggest highlight of our summer each year. I really loved growing up on a farm and enjoyed all of the adventures that went with it. It is what has shaped me into the person I am today and given me a strong appreciation for rural America and the people who live and work there.

My husband John and I purchased our dairy farm north of Glencoe, Minn., about 25 years ago. We purchased it through Federal Land Bank during the farm crisis of the 1980s. Since we were both from farms, we had the desire and longing to move back to the farm lifestyle. We have grown our farm to its current size of about 85 milk cows consisting mostly of Holsteins and a few Jerseys. We grow our own crops to sustain our herd on the 280 acres. We are definitely a traditional small family farm, and it has proven to be a rich and rewarding place to raise our children.

Q: How do you promote agriculture or educate others about agriculture?

A: My artwork serves as a voice to continue to promote the importance and goodness of this vital industry. In addition to my artwork, John and I have hosted dozens of school tour groups, open house events, June Dairy Month activities, State June Dairy Event with the governor and a farm visit during the National Holstein Convention. Perhaps one of the best ways we have been able to promote the farm to urban connection, food to table concept, is to operate a clean and updated family farm with healthy, well cared for livestock.

Q: Why do you think that it’s important to educate others about agriculture?

A: Educating the world about production agriculture creates a true awareness for the need and support to this industry and the farmer. Helping people understand how food is grown, processed and sold in a store is essential to helping producers and consumers relate to each other, understand and satisfy the needs and wants on both ends. Teaching children from a young age is one of the best tools that has been designed to help build this bridge.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you face as an AGvocate?

A: Time to travel, speak and promote is really a limitation. Therefore, I try to use my artwork as an effective tool to reach people when I can. Dealing with misinterpretations and false misconceptions also is a difficult barrier to break through. There are groups and lobbyists who have their own agenda or beliefs that do not always coincide with modern farming and agricultural practices, and this can be a difficult hurdle. We stay positive, display positive energy and provide information whenever we can.

Q: What do you think is the biggest issue in agriculture today?

A: A growing concern is the use of hormones and chemicals in livestock and crop production. It is a delicate subject and one that has many answers and options. I do think that it is an area of concern that needs to be continually addressed for both safety and balance. Going organic and smaller sustainable farms seem to be growing in popularity because of this. The ongoing industrial and housing development of good farm land also is a concern. I think that these issues need to be addressed at the local and state levels to assure continued preservation of productive agricultural land.

Q: Do you have any new projects that you are working on?

A: Later this September, I will be promoting my first children’s book, Once There Were No Cows. I have been thinking about doing a children’s book for many years, but did not have a story line to develop a book.

Last October, while painting late into the night, an idea for a story literally popped into my head. I have spent the past 6 months creating 16 original paintings for the children’s book. It can be purchased at or at World Dairy Expo.

For more information, visit or contact 320.864.6642.

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