Paying Farm Trade Markets By David Berlin

If you love traveling through the heartland, if your politics are populist, if you have the ability to laugh at yourself, and if your writing, research, and interviewing skills are strong, you can write for the farming trades. These magazines publish articles on every topic from bull sperm to beekeeping, goat farming to organic vegetable farming, as well as cheesemaking, livestock breeding, and cattle ranching.

Farmers want to read about political issues, environmental issues, and legislation issues AS ISSUES APPLY TO THEM. Look at a couple of sample articles on the web to see what I mean, and don’t assume that because you live on one of the coasts that you know better than American farmers what is best for American farmers. The fastest way not to get published by a farming mag is to take a condescending tone. You need to learn to write in plain language, without talking down to readers.

Farm mags also like technical features: Animal and plant breeding news items are almost always winners. Equipment articles also tend to show up in farming mags from time to time. The key here is what I call “pre-research”. Research your topic VERY thoroughly, from many angles, using Google and other directories, indexes and search engines, before you even propose the article. There is nothing a specialized farming magazine editor hates more than a generic, non-specialized query. I highly recommend looking at a sample copy of a magazine you want to write for and googling some of the terms and ideas and article topics you see in it. This is really the best way to do research; you can get an excellent basic farming education that way. After that, visit a working farm and get a feel for farm life and the people who work there and own the place.

Articles about the human side of farming are also good topics; farming is highly person-oriented and human-powered; some parts of the cattle ranching/goat herding/bee keeping/harvesting/etc. process and operation simply cannot be mechanized.

All this said, bear in mind that the writing style for these mags needs to be friendly, open, back fence, NOT homespun, NOT cracker barrel. Watch the use of clich