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Farm Journal Monthly Story Lead Contest

This contest is a partnership between Extension Foundation & Farm Journal's Trust in Food initiative to lift up stories about the clients of Extension. Farm Journal is the nation’s leading business information and media company serving the agricultural market. Started 144 years ago with the preeminent Farm Journal magazine, the company serves the row crop, livestock, produce and retail sectors

June 2020 Contest: How Are You Reducing Food Waste?


How are you reducing food waste? For this month’s Cooperative Extension feature, Farm Journal’s Trust In Food wants to hear from your county/state/region about the important work you’re doing to help farmers reduce food waste or better connect farmers with food banks, pantries, schools, etc. COVID-19 has created heightened public awareness of the challenges that often exist in getting fresh food to the people who need it most. Let’s show them how Extension is contributing novel solutions that better connect farmers and other food stakeholders to their communities. (Stories may involve Master Gardeners or other experts helping communities adopt ag as their own -- such as teaching how to plant, cultivate and harvest a Victory Garden.)

Are you ready to pitch your story for a national audience? Post your submission in Connect Extension by noon Eastern time on Friday, June 26. Your story could be selected for a Farm Journal editor to write up and publish at, the No. 1 U.S. ag news site by traffic.

Submitting Your Story In Connect Extension

Submitting your story lead is easy! A short tutorial is available here. You must have a Connect Extension account to post a story. Get your free Connect Extension account, available to all Cooperative Extension professionals, at

  1. Click Post 
  2. Create your post using the guidelines below
  3. Under "Collections," please choose your Cooperative Extension region and the topic area most closely aligned with your story!

Here’s what we’ll need from you:

  • Suggested Title/Headline: In a few words, what is this story about, and what is the impact? OR, the name of your county, state, and your audience (i.e. Guilford County, NC, Row Crop Producers)

  • The Challenge: In 2-3 sentences, identify the key challenge(s) the farmer, rancher or other food-system stakeholder faced with regard to food waste or connecting with food banks, food pantries, schools, etc... What is at stake? Any numbers, data points or anecdotes you can share to illustrate the problem will make the story more relatable to readers and create better understanding.

  • The Opportunity: In 2-3 sentences, identify how Cooperative Extension stepped up to help – with attention to the steps taken to solve the challenge, and provide data points, anecdotes and impacts. How did the farmer or person in need benefit? What data/supporting evidence can you provide? What other benefits emerged? What’s the next step this individual will be taking to continue reducing food waste or connecting with food banks, pantries, or schools? Remember: Farmers especially appreciate any insights on the economics – the cost of implementing a practice and also any savings or other financial return on investment. Special consideration will be given to content that can help add insight to the economics of resource stewardship and other benefits, such as environmental, social, community reinvestment, etc.

  • Sources: Please identify at least 3 expert sources, including phone and email (e.g. the Cooperative Extension leader, the farmer/rancher/rural resident, food pantry, school district, etc. who contributed directly to address the issue in this area). If your story is selected, Farm Journal will develop a story for with insights representing key stakeholders involved in creating the solution.

  • Questions About The Contest: Have a question as you’re preparing your submission? Please comment below!

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Comments (2)

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Should we be formatting our sources a certain way at this stage? thank you

There's no need to format them any specific way. Just the names, titles, basic contact info. Story leads themselves are very informal. If your story is selected by Farm Journal, they'll work with you on producing the full story and I'm sure they have a formula/method for this. 


About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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