Business Q & A

A conversation with Lynn Woolf

What does Lynn Woolf do? Depends on which day you ask her.

She's a writer and independent public relations counselor. She's president of Public Relations Society of America's Kansas chapter.

She's part of a third-generation farm family. She's a 4-H mom. And she's a "agvocate" who uses social media to tell the story of agriculture.

With her husband, Vaughn, and their two children, Woolf farms 400 acres south of Cheney. Vaughn's father, Stanley Woolf, "is a big part of our farm," Woolf said, and Vaughn's grandparents also farmed there.

The Woolfs grow wheat and some alfalfa. "We also feed out cows, and we have a hodgepodge of other creatures, both because we like them and because of 4-H," Woolf said.

It's not where she thought she'd be when she earned her journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

How did you get from Milwaukee to south of Cheney?

"After college, I worked for a farm magazine in Milwaukee. I didn't grow up on a farm. I was a beginner, let's put it that way. It was a commodities magazine, and we had to feature different commodities in different parts of the country."

And you were assigned a hog farmer in Kansas.

"I was supposed to talk not only with a hog farmer in Kansas, but a hog farmer who uses the futures market. And that was more than 20 years ago, so it wasn't just a matter of doing a Google search.... I called up Sedgwick County Extension, and he gave me a couple of names, one of which was Vaughn's."

You called him, and the rest is history?

"It's crazy when I look back, because I actually talked to him on the same phone number we have now.... We just really connected, and he was so great about helping me."

You married in 1991. How quickly did you become a farmer?

"We got married on a Friday night, and we drove back on a Monday. So, Monday night? I loved it.... Farming is a great life."

Did you keep writing?

"Yes. I did freelance writing for the magazine I had worked for. It's called Farm Futures. So I did writing for them, and then I do writing (for magazines, newsletters, websites and others) as a freelancer."

How has farming changed for you over the past two decades?

"We don't have hogs any more.... We have obviously changed our focus and now raise mainly wheat. Things have changed for my husband, and he now has a full-time job and does this on the side."

You both mostly work from home now. How is that?

"It all meshes together. It's difficult because you're juggling roles, but it's very rewarding to have that work-family life mix."

What are your goals as PRSA-Kansas president?

"Membership is always a goal — reaching out. Reaching out to new members, and still providing the development needs for current members. We're relaunching the website, working on a social media initiative.... Professional Day is coming up Sept. 17, and Student Day is Oct. 13. So just keeping that good programming going."

You're active on Twitter and Facebook. Is social media valuable to you?

"Oh, it's been great. I've made a lot of connections. I've really gotten into promoting agriculture, and it's one of those things that just kind of meshes, with the PR side and living agriculture and wanting others to know its importance."

As people read this, you'll have just shepherded your kids and their 4-H projects through the Sedgwick County Fair. Will you be recovering?

"We'll be recovering — and maybe in a little mourning, too."