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Ag's story told

Sue Tebow turns to social media to spread the word on farmers and ranchers

June 2020
By Trista Crossley


Moses Lake resident Sue Tebow has taken the phrase “sharing is caring” to a new social media level.

“I had been thinking about doing something for a long time to share the ag life with people. I have a lot of friends that aren’t ag related and didn’t understand what goes on in agriculture. I put it off and put it off until one day, I just thought why not and what if? It turned out to be a really good idea,” Tebow said.

Tebow’s idea was to create a Facebook page where she could share stories from farmers and ranchers. The idea—a daily post from a farmer or rancher, no names and a single photo—may have been simple, but it was effective. Four years later, her page, agri.CULTURE, has more than 25,000 followers from around the world and has more than 900 posts. In 2017, Tebow was awarded the Charles Easton Award by the Agriculture Council of America for her work as an advocate for accurate communications between rural and urban audiences. She has also been inducted into the Grant County Agriculture Hall of Fame and given the Excellence in Agriculture Service Award
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Not too shabby for someone who grew up in an urban area and didn’t know anything about agriculture until she married a rancher in the 1990s. Tebow and her husband raise cattle and grow alfalfa.

“I was always one of those people that would get behind a slow piece of equipment and be upset because I was late. When I married my husband and moved out here, I thought, ‘isn’t this so cool to be in the country? So peaceful?’” she said, laughing. “I would say, having a farm is like having a two-year-old. You have to get a babysitter to go anywhere, and you have to watch it all the time. It was an eye opener.”

When she first started thinking about a way to share agriculture’s story, Tebow knew she didn’t want to do a blog that was focused on percentages and numbers. She knew that there were real people with interesting stories behind the scenes growing the nation’s food and fibers, a fact that is easy to forget when an urban shopper’s only exposure to agriculture is at the store. She felt she had a unique perspective on what the public needed to know about agriculture, thanks to her own background.

“I just thought, who better to tell stories than farmers and ranchers themselves?” she said. “They tell their own story, and the idea behind that is it doesn’t matter what their name is. The story is the important part. It’s very simple, and I think that’s why it works so well. It’s a chicken-soup-for-the-soul kind of thing.”

In the beginning, Tebow mostly featured family and friends on her page. Then she reached out to other farmers and ranchers and continued to grow. She hasn’t had anybody turn her down and says the hardest part is getting to everybody she wants to talk to. She’s featured rural bankers, farm kids, even potato harvest at a nearby Hutterite Colony. She’s even found people to feature while in Las Vegas or while receiving the Easton award back east. On that trip to Washington, D.C., she had an extra day to explore and ended up at the place where police horses were being shod.

“That blew me away, watching these guys shoe these massive horses,” she said. “One of them played baseball for the Twins. He blew his shoulder out and is now shoeing horses. People are so unique. There are amazing stories out there, and amazing people doing amazing things.”

There is no advertising on agri.CULTURE. Last year, Tebow started another page to help cover her travel expenses. On that Patreon page, subscribers can read about the stories behind the scenes, see more photos and get updates on previously featured people.

Tebow says that if farmers and ranchers don’t tell their story, the public has no way of knowing what’s going on in agriculture.

“I think this could one of the first times in human history that farmers and ranchers have to explain and defend everything they do,” she said. “People don’t understand if it wasn’t for those farmers and ranchers, there wouldn’t be any food to eat. To me, I’m like ‘hey there’s a huge disconnect, not a little one.’ I just came up with what can I do to advocate for agriculture in a different way than what’s being said?”

To find Tebow’s page, search for agri.CULTURE on Facebook and agri.culture.people on Instagram. The Patreon page can be found at patreon.com/agriculturepeople, and Tebow also has a website at agriculturepeople.com.