Onion World Magazine December 2012 “Planting Seeds for Sound Agricultural Policies!”

Of the hundreds of media pieces we have appeared in over the years, this too is a favorite, from the December 2012 Onion World Magazine the article by Eric Woolson entitled “Planting Seeds for Sound Agricultural Policies.”

Link for the article online: http://reader.mediawiremobile.com/ColumbiaMediaGroup/issues/104444/viewer?page=1

It is a fantastic article well written by Eric (an Iowa man, though he went to the University of Northern Iowa vs being a Hawkeye, but that’s close enough!) that nicely re-caps some of the more interesting things we have worked on over the years in terms of public policy and fighting in behalf of farmers.It also contains a number of neat pictures, including the cover photo taken by our son Caleb. Below you can see the article, including a second cover.

If you look closely at that cover you see it is signed by someone … former Senator & Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Here is the story behind that signing … back in September I was down in DC for numerous meetings and to attend Sen. Gillibrand’s Ag Working Group & NY Farm Day reception. It is a fantastic event first started by Sen. Clinton and continued by Sen. Gillibrand, who is the first New Yorker to sit on the Senate Agriculture Committee in some 40+ years. It is coordinated by Jim Trezise, President of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation. Jim is a wonderful human being and a good friend who does a spectacular job year in and year out in regards this and numerous other functions (http://www.winejudging.com/bios/jim_trezise.htm).

Well, at this year’s event I happened to run into an old friend who used to work for Senator/Secretary Clinton. As we chatted and briefly caught up I pulled a copy of this issue out of my bag to show him, since it had a picture of Eve and Jonah with former President Clinton. I laughed and said “I’m sure the President has been featured a few times in “The Onion” but I bet he never thought he would be in “Onion World.” He laughed. I then asked him if he wouldn’t mind giving a copy to them, in case they hadn’t seen it. Plus they might get a good laugh out of it. He happily agreed.

About a month later we received an envelope in the mail from the former Secretary. When I opened it I was surprised to see the magazine and was sort of disappointed it was returned. But then when I got to the top I saw why, it had the very gracious signature. Very cool!

As I have mentioned multiple times previously my campaign to raise funds for an editor will be featured in an upcoming episode of the new Crowd Funder Show.


What is the Crowd Funder Show and what does it mean to appear on the show? According to their website:

The Crowd Funder TV Show highlights various ideas that have been selected based on their merit for creativity, social relevance, and commercial viability. Each episode focuses the spotlight on six or seven inspiring projects and personal goals that give the viewing audience insight into the campaign, its principal, and the reason(s) why it should come to fruition. The Crowd Funder TV Show highlights various ideas that have been selected based on their merit for creativity, social relevance, and commercial viability.

What is so neat about their crowd funding method, versus Kickstarter’s, is that it is not “all or nothing.” Further, the rewards are much more exciting. Again, from their website:

Viewers can choose to support the projects they watch by contributing directly to the campaign website or by calling a toll-free number. The Crowd Funder Show rewards contributors with sponsored gift cards for the same amount of money they contribute, up to $100. Supporting people and their projects has never been easier so it’s no wonder you can’t help but feel like you’re a part of something special. The Crowd Funder TV Show is an interesting, inspiring program that highlights human ingenuity and co-operation.

When you go to my page you will see locations once can choose from for the gift card include: Sears, Best Buy, Home Depot and Toys R Us. So, if you plan on doing any shopping at any of these locations anyway you are essentially donating to my cause for free. A total win-win!

Enjoy the article!


About my book project and search for a publisher …

You may not have noticed but I have an “About My Book” page on my blog. If you haven’t the text for it is below. It is what I wrote to describe it for my failed Kickstarter project (I did that at the wrong time).

Since I wrote it I now have a fantastic editor, Penny Steyer, who has actually read the entire 100K word draft and made a number of initial edits. Eve and I are going over it and will be meeting with her shortly to move forward.

But, we still are looking for a publisher. It is an odd book in that it doesn’t fit certain or typical farming related topics. For example, the newbie who lives in the city and moves to the country and becomes a farmer. My book is about both conventional farming as well as the nuts and bolts details of dealing with the legislative process, working with the media and accomplishing really good from the grassroots or ground level.

A lot of people complain about the system, but how many understand how it works, and how you can actually accomplish good? My book details that. It’s funny, sometimes irreverent, and mostly entertaining and informative. I wrote it with the idea of it becoming eventually a film or tv project. I think it has that potential.

So, if you are a publisher looking to take a chance on something just a wee bit different but very provocative and entertaining … well, you know how to reach me!

Here is a link to an excellent local news piece that talked about my project:


Here is the description found on my “About My Book” page:

I’ve written a memoir about my experiences on our 4th generation family onion farm and my very active volunteer public policy/advocacy experiences over the years (http://bit.ly/SGwZb8). I’m an outstanding researcher, a fantastic first draft writer but not a very good editor. My wife typically edits my work but this memoir is just too long (over 106K words) and personally too painful for her to tackle. Remember “The Farmer’s Wife” documentary that ran on PBS a few years ago (http://to.pbs.org/aUdsi)? The shared experiences and similar pain made it too hard for my wife to watch (see: http://bit.ly/WcHTrM). So, since my memoir details some painful memories my wife can’t do it. I need to hire an editor and being over $250K in the hole makes hiring an editor impossible without help (http://bit.ly/wpxL5z).

Once my first draft is edited it will be far more likely a book publisher or a literary agent will take it on. Now, obviously there are no guarantees that it will be published, but, I can assure you I’m a very good writer and I have had numerous unique experiences over the years, including securing a $10 million dollar special earmark that was part of the 2002 Farm Bill, testifying before the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, meeting and working with dozens of elected officials, including former Senator Hillary Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, current Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, amongst many others. I’ve also appeared in the media hundreds of times over the years, from the national press like CNN and the CBS Evening News and the NY Times to various trade publications and local press, to recently The Hindu and the BBC. I’ve even been quoted in Vogue (http://bit.ly/OqeFeJ). Now, come on, how many farmers do you know quoted in Vogue? Just google my name to see how often I’ve appeared in the media.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, in a speech delivered back in December of 2012, said:

“It isn’t just the differences of policy. It’s the fact that rural America with a shrinking population is becoming less and less relevant to the politics of this country, and we had better recognize that and we better begin to reverse it.” http://yhoo.it/VTM2fJ

I think he’s dead wrong, and it is exactly the opposite of what I relate in my book. We in rural America have been and continue to be relevant.

And my book is a positive story, because if you watch the cable talk shows and read people like Matt Taibbi (who I like very much) you walk away with the impression that the average citizen like you and I can never cause positive change, not without spending a lot of money. Well, no one has ever paid me, I have never donated anything to any politician. Not once have we ever been asked to do a fund raiser or donate, or even vote for the public official we work with. Hard to believe, but true. My story is in the end a positive, uplifting narrative.

Further, farmers and farming stories are really under-represented in the general media. I explain what is involved to grow and sell an onion, and how much, or rather, how little we make. It’s an inside story, one that chain stores don’t want the average consumer to know. I want to tell that story, to an even wider audience, hence why I have written the book and look to make it a commercial success.

I have a story that needs to be told. I’ve done the hard part in terms of the research and writing the first draft. That’s done. I’m almost to the finish line. Can you help me cross it by helping me edit and complete the work, making it more marketable to a literary agent or publishing house?

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