5 questions with ... Betsy Armour, Northarvest Bean Growers Association
North Dakota grows 32 percent of the nation's edible or dry beans and Minnesota contributes 9 percent. In your new role at Northarvest Bean Growers Association, what will you be focusing on and working to do for the dry bean industry?
As the new director of domestic marketing and communication outreach, my main priority will be to increase the awareness and use of dry beans. I will be prioritizing current and new domestic markets for dry beans by strengthening consumer knowledge and effectively marketing their amazing health attributes, along with their many tasty uses.
Why and how did you choose a career path in agriculture?
Growing up in and near the Red River Valley, I would have to say that agriculture chose me. I started my marketing and communications career at Seeds 2000, and it was a natural fit with my education and skill set. I've held various communications positions since then, but I truly and finally established my roots in agriculture communications when I started working for the North Dakota Corn Utilization Council and the North Dakota Corn Growers Association. I knew that, during my time there, I wanted to make a concerted effort to use all my talents and skills to promote growers and their hard work feeding and fueling the world. I have been truly blessed by the relationships I've forged through the last five years working in agriculture, and I'm very happy about the opportunity that was afforded to me with the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.
You've worked for several agriculture organizations. What is a challenge in agriculture you work to overcome through your ongoing communications work?
I feel that the biggest and ongoing challenge will be consumer outreach and education. Since the advent of social media, I feel that consumers can often get mislead by misinformation. As a seasoned communicator, my goal is to cut through the noise and give consumers facts that they will be able to bite into. I know firsthand that our growers and producers have the consumer at top of mind in all that they do. I wish to make messages for consumers as clear and concise as possible, especially conveying to them that dry beans are simply delicious and naturally nutritious.
If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?
Since I was a little girl I have always been intrigued with history and was fascinated by Amelia Earhart. She was a true trailblazer for women in many ways. Earhart was a very successful woman in aviation, especially in what is considered a predominantly male-oriented field. She was extremely persistent and courageous, and she was always cool-headed in every circumstance. I would have really liked to have had the chance to meet her and especially learn more about her drive and the mechanics of how she persevered in the face of such immense adversity.
You work in Fargo and live in Moorhead, Minn. What excites you about your communities?
Both communities are on the grow. Every day there are new and fun things to see and do. I also love that our communities are passionate about families. There are tons of activities and events that engage our youth. This will keep Fargo and Moorhead growing strong today and into the future.
Connect with Armour at betsynortharvestbean.org.