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Dakota Life 25 | Dear County Agent Guy

This article is taken from the February 2023 issue of South Dakota Public Broadcasting Magazine. Read past issues HERE

Jerry Nelson of Volga, SD writes a popular column for newspapers and magazines across the country. In 2016, his columns were turned into a book, Dear County Agent Guy. Jerry and his wife Julie talked with SDPB on Dakota Life in the spring of 2017 about their love of the land, and his love and talent for writing.

SDPB: How is the business of farming these days?

Jerry Nelson: Farming has been good. We’ve been blessed. The biggest change on a personal level was the birth of our grandson, who lives with his parents in Kansas City. On a professional level, I’ve become a regular contributor to Successful Farming’s website, www.agriculture.com.

SDPB: Has your writing style and subject matter changed at all over the years, if so, how did they change?

Jerry: I think I’m a little more “serious” now. Looking back at my early columns, I see someone who was in dire need of a good editor.

SDPB: You clearly still enjoy writing, where do you find inspiration for your stories?

Jerry: A looming deadline is often my biggest inspiration. My wife has always been a tremendous source of ideas.

SDPB: What is your favorite piece that you have written? What are you most proud of and why?

Jerry: That’s like asking which child is your favorite. But I still like “The Four Seasons of Farming” because of the imagery and emotions it invokes.

SDPB: What story that you have written has received the most attention?

Jerry: My column about the death of our old dog, Sandy, got a lot of attention. Many people said that they were touched by that piece.

SDPB: What advice would you give to young people who would like to get started as writers?

Jerry: Practice your craft daily and don’t be afraid to submit your writing. No editor has ever complained about having too many good writers.