I was back home in North Dakota recently and my sister humored me by going for a drive to photograph fields. This brought me back to my college days of adventuring on the dirt roads in my little blue Honda Civic with a song on the radio and a picnic in the back seat. Back then, I loved the beauty of the wide open ND skies, the sunflower fields, and the storms you could see rolling in the prairie from 50 miles away.
I am still a sucker for sunflower and wheat fields (North Dakota is the number one sunflower producing state in the nation!), but years of working hand in hand with clients in agriculture have given me an entirely new appreciation for fields. Now I see dead weeds and want to make sure I get photos for my agronomist clients. Grasshoppers chewing on soybeans are perfect for articles about pests. I’m no longer just paying attention to the “pretty” – I’m looking for the rest of the story.
The most delightful part about working in agricultural marketing for me has been learning that bigger story. I drove past fields nearly every day in my childhood, and now I get to spend my days learning about the science and technology behind how our farmers feed not only this country, but the world. It’s a story that includes the next generation of water and land management best practices, precision planting, and some very passionate and smart people driving these advances. The dedication they bring to their job is summed up in late nights during harvest and dirty fingernails in the morning.
And sometimes, if I’m lucky, I find myself with mud on my boots and a camera in my hands, under a wide open sky. I’ll be standing in that field of sunflowers, looking for the rest of the story.