Fact Sheet

Emily Standley


Standley, E.N.*1,
1 Extension Agent, Montana State University, Lewistown, MT, 59457

In central Montana, our farming and ranching communities have often expressed a desire to share their stories with the general public. Even in a comparatively rural state, where agriculture is the leading industry, there is still a significant portion of the population without a direct connection to agriculture. To help bridge this gap locally and share the positive impacts of agriculture, I developed a fact sheet highlighting economic and production statistics of our local farms and ranches, and our most prominent agricultural outputs: cattle and wheat. The resulting resource provided a quick, easy-to-read introduction on the importance of our agricultural communities. The primary audience for this fact sheet were individuals unfamiliar with agriculture, which is why I translated the information into more relatable metrics such as pounds of product and number of people fed, rather than using bushels, number of head, etc. A secondary audience were the farmers and ranchers themselves. Although this group is certainly familiar with agriculture, seeing these statistics helped them further realize the impact and importance of their work, and provided more resources to continue telling their stories in the future. To demonstrate credibility and encourage readers to explore more agricultural statistics on their own, I listed sources and methodology at the bottom of the fact sheet. I utilized colors and design elements that would direct readers’ eyes to follow the flow of information from top to bottom, and I used simple graphics that would help readers associate each statistic with a tangible object. This fact sheet was printed and shared in our local Extension office and with local community partners such as Conservation Districts, but the most successful distribution came when we posted it on our county Extension Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Fergusextension/photos/a.1216525078412262/2974132682651484/?type=3&theater), where it was shared 65 times and reached 8,338 people (for context, the population of Fergus and Petroleum Counties totals to just under 12,000 people).