Farm and Dairy reporter wins international writing award

a woman stands holding an awards plaque
Rachel Wagoner won first place out of 49 entries in the North American Agricultural Journalists Writing Awards features category.

Farm and Dairy reporter Rachel Wagoner took home top honors in an international writing contest.

Wagoner earned first place in the features category of the North American Agricultural Journalists 2023 Writing Awards. Her story, “Balancing love, loss and life after a farmer’s suicide,” was selected from among 49 entries.

The story, published in September 2022, explores how a family moves forward after the sudden loss of their beloved husband, father, and what can be learned about how to save a life in a farm community.

The contest judge wrote in her comments that Wagoner “combines aching human experience with solid information on mental health to breach the wall of silence that too often surrounds this timely topic.”

“Rachel Wagoner has created an extraordinary canvas on which to explore the deep aftershocks of one man’s death as well as the broader mental health crisis so many others face and fear,” the judge said. “She brings the man and the woman who survives him to vivid, relatable life, while adding solid advice on recognizing the risks and finding help.”

The North American Agricultural Journalists is a professional international group of agricultural editors and writers with members in the U.S. and Canada. The writing award winners were recognized during the group’s annual meeting April 24 in Washington, D.C.


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