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Get Informed, Build Cred and Trust with Famers in Your Congregation by Rev. Grant Woodley

Here’s a list of ideas to help pastors get informed and build trust and credibility with the farmers in their community. If you try Rev. Woodley’s last suggestion, don’t send us the picture!

  • Equipment Ride-alongs

  • Volunteer/Hire yourself out. Farmers are ALWAYS looking for seasonal help. Labor is a top 5 issue. If you have even a remote talent of driving things, it would be helpful. Livestock farmers need help sorting, loading a few times a year, doesn't require much knowledge or skill, just a body and a pulse, and the steely nerves to handle getting cussed at.

  • Land grant university extension. Get to know your county program director, and regional agronomist. Ride along. Host joint programs with Extension. Our congregation jointly applied for a grant for a community garden program, and extension provides programming for garden soil health, master gardener, and how to cook with fresh veggies. We've also cooperated with extension on mental health stuff. Such an untapped asset.

  • Farm Bureau. Get to know your local county Farm Bureau. Offer to do invocation for their annual meeting.

  • Deliver goodie bags during spring and fall fieldwork. Exponentially increase credibility by doing this jointly with Extension, FFA/4H groups, Banker, Farm Credit.

  • Volunteer to help FFA contest teams practice. (I guarantee you'll love this).

  • Go to and volunteer at the county fair. Buy something at the auction. (I bought a pie a few years ago and then had the auctioneer announce it would be available during fellowship time on Sunday)

  • Overtly request to church councils to book/subscription funds to subscribe to Farm Bureau newspaper, and a farm magazine or 2 (ask someone in the congregation which one they'd recommend)

  • Mental health. The farm membership groups, extension and farm bureau are really getting serious about mental health and suicide prevention and intervention. Get involved. See link and attachment

  • And Practice your Farmer Blow! Then let one rip, during those famous parking lot meetings. Or following a graveside. Essential rural resident skill, you know, when the wind is blowing and making your eyes water and your nose starts to run, or your seasonal allergies are bothering you. (pro-tip, #1 stand up-wind from the direction you're blowing, #2 have a back-up plan for when the snot doesn't quite detach, and it whips up the side of your face instead).

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