Tuchscherer: What's a 'real farm' look like to you?

Rebekah Tuchscherer
rtuchscherer@gannett.com

At 6 years old, I wanted to live on a “real farm.”

My dad, a cattle and grain farmer for more than 40 years, was more than puzzled at the time.

So, in a completely somber tone, my kindergarten self slowly explained her belief that “real farms” had more than “just cows and corn.” In fact, they looked more like a local zoo or Noah’s Ark, with at least two of everything - chickens, ducks, sheep, honey bees and more.

He didn’t buy it.

But he did encourage the curiosity that came in tow. Through the years, I used our small farm just outside of Milbank, S.D., to raise many a flock of ducks, grow a few hills of spaghetti squash, help move cattle to pasture in the springtime and even as a testing ground for baking lemon bars. Slowly but surely I learned that farms and agricultural pursuits didn’t need to fit any cookie cutter vision I had of them. In fact, it’s sometimes more interesting when they don’t.

That hands-on learning mentality, along with a longtime love for reading and writing, eventually propelled me toward a career in science journalism. Today, I’m happy to introduce myself as Rebekah Tuchscherer, your new Farm Forum editor and agriculture reporter.

In May, I received an undergraduate degree in journalism and STEM, with emphases in biology and chemistry, from Augustana University in Sioux Falls. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

I’ve also honed my reporting skills through internships during the past four years, working with South Dakota Public Broadcasting, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, USA TODAY, The Texas Observer and - most recently - Science Magazine.

Leaning into the business and science beats I’ve covered most recently, I’m ready to provide the local coverage that matters most to you, our readers, by digging into data, talking with state experts and having conversations with farmers and ranchers in the region. But to do that, I’ll need your help.

Send me a message - whether that be via email, Twitter, phone call or even snail mail - telling me what topics matter most to you. What questions do you have about your agricultural community? What information or gossip do you have that needs investigation or could lead to a good story? What do you think doesn’t get enough coverage in our region that ought to get just a little bit more? What does your version of a “real farm” look like?

I’m curious.

My direct messages are open on Twitter, where my handle is @r2sure. You can also reach me via email at rtuchscherer@gannett.com, my work phone at 605-331-2315 or even by letter to Sioux Falls, as I’m based at the Argus Leader. The address is 200 S. Minnesota Ave., Sioux Falls, SD, 57104.

Rebekah Tuchscherer Farm Forum editor