Lacy Wulfekuhle is new to her position, but she’s certainly not new to town and she’s ready to help the current and next generation of Richland County farmers.
Wulfekuhle was hired as the Richland County agriculture and natural resources NDSU Extension agent. She also has an assignment with 4-H, assisting with the program in Richland County, North Dakota.
She started her position Friday, Oct. 1, and just completed her first week on the job. The position had been vacant for several months before she stepped into the role.
Wulfekuhle is well-suited for the job. As a Breckenridge, Minnesota, native, she grew up in a family of farmers and her family continues to farm in the area.
“I grew up on my family farm. My dad and my brother farm right now. They’re in Wilkin and Richland counties. My mom is the communications director at Minn-Dak, the sugar beet plant. And then my fiancé, his family, they also farm. So basically everyone in my family is farming. So aunts and uncles, just about every single person. So I’m very big into agriculture,” Wulfekuhle said.
She graduated from NDSU with an animal science degree and was an agriculture educator for the University of Minnesota Extension Office and then worked for the USDA Farm Service Agency in Wahpeton.
“I’m very familiar with a lot of the producers in the area,” Wulfekuhle said.
It is important, because it’s her job to provide education to current and future farmers — or anyone who’s interested — about agriculture, especially as it pertains to this region.
She’s essentially the bridge between NDSU and Richland County farmers, connecting them with cutting edge technology and knowledge coming from the university.
One of her favorite things about agriculture is finding ways to overcome challenges that face the business.
“It’s a hard time at this moment in time, with the drought and some weather situations, for everybody, but also with the changing of times, new technology and all these young farmers kind of stepping into a role of taking over the farm, it’s harder than ever. Those are challenges in itself. And then you get to the technical side of farming with weed resistance and different varieties and new regulations. You really have to adapt quite quickly,” she said.
Farming, much like any line of work, can be resistant to change. Part of her job is to advocate for changes that improve the lives of farmers.
“Farming is one of those things; ‘We’ve always done it this way, so why change it?’ So it is kind of harder to try to get the mentality to switch. You really have to have proof because nobody signs up and says, ‘Yep, I’m just going to do that and give all my money to you. And you’re going to tell me it’s going to work.’ You can’t always convince a farmer to do that. You really have to show them that research and that’s where NDSU Extension comes in,” Wulfekuhle said.
For the next generation of farmers, she also has an appointment with 4-H. She works with local students to excite and educate them about things like agriculture, woodworking and other various career paths.
Wulfekuhle herself is a lifelong 4-H member, having grown up in the club.
“For 4-H I’m excited to be involved in that and hopefully grow some project areas in the county. One of the 4-H’ers came up (to me) and was really excited because I have a background with livestock, my brother and I showed cattle at the Minnesota State Fair and stuff. So we’re pretty passionate about that. They heard that and were excited because they want to show animals and have a bigger project area,” she said.
Ronda Gripentrog, Richland County family and community wellness NDSU Extension agent, introduced Wulfekuhle to the Richland County Commission at their Tuesday, Oct. 5 meeting.
“I’m very happy to introduce Lacy, she’s our new ag and natural resource agent. And she started on Friday and she already stepped right in and helped at the (4-H) awards program and she’s done a great job in three days,” Gripentrog said.
For all your agricultural knowledge needs, look no further than Wulfekuhle.