Original Post by Amy McNulty:
January 19, 2022
1. Logos, the use of facts, was used to demonstrate that I am aware of the current state of Wisconsin agriculture such as the state and rate of organic conversion and the decades long trend of farm numbers. Pathos, creating an emotional response, was used to appeal to the governmental representative’s inclination to act in the best interests of their constituents. Using words such as “suffered economically” evokes emotion and is the exact condition that they are employed to resolve.
2. The stylistic decisions were made after a consultation of other examples of letters to governmental officials as well as the standards I have used in professional writing over the years. Professional writing, unlike academic writing, tends to use a block paragraph form which is single spaced with no first line indentions and this is how I structured the letter. Further the memo was written in a significantly more formal style compared to this cover letter.
3. I learned that it is difficult to know exactly how much background to put into a permission memo. There is so many statistics that I wanted to add to support my argument, but the space constraints did now allow it. Therefore, I feel that the argument is not as balanced or strong as it could be if space allowed. I found this a difficult memo to write since I am not at all acquainted with the recipient other than by position. Having a more intimate knowledge of this person’s principal issues (sustainability? economics?) would help me create a better argument by hitting on those exact issues rather than trying to include all the issues.
January 19, 2022
State of Wisconsin
Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection
Economic Development and Innovation Center
2811 Agriculture Drive
P.O. Box 8911
Madison, WI 53708
Dear Ms. Kasten-Olson,
Wisconsin has suffered economically for decades from farm losses due to corporatization of farming that has created mega-farms in the western United States. The environmental impact of these mega-operations combined with the uncertainly over the impact of climate change and an ongoing battle over water rights in the west creates a difficult future for them. Further, consumers are demanding that their food is produced in a more sustainable way and Wisconsin can meet this demand by reinventing itself as a new domestic mecca of sustainable farming. Wisconsin, with its abundant natural resources, existing farming infrastructure, and commitment to sustainability, stands to leverage this opportunity to influence the relocation of farming interests from the western United States back to the Midwest.
Wisconsin has become a leader in organic farming, second only to California in both the number of organic farms and the number of farms transitioning to organic. However, at only 4% of the total food sales, organics are only one very small piece of the future food supply. By leveraging the state’s institutional knowledge of agriculture and coupling it with the cutting edge, in-state technical research on new sustainable dairy, irrigation, tillage, water management, and nutrient management plans, Wisconsin stands poised to transform into a national leader of sustainable agriculture production and dramatically increase the amount of sustainably produced food delivered to consumers.
Strong community and governmental support exist to grow Wisconsin’s agricultural sector however, to date, little development work has been done to identify the exact economic, environmental, and social parameters needed to attract agriculture to Wisconsin from the western United States. I seek your permission to conduct research identifying those exact factors. The results of this research will be actionable data that can be used to influence private industry to make their future investments in Wisconsin.
Awesome idea to write the memo for a specific person as the audience. Kara is the person in charge of a program that is well-aligned with your goal. The detailed content was effective in identifying the problem. You did great at convincing the audience that the issue is important. Particularly considering that your ultimate goal is to influence private investors, it was effective to mention that there is a consumer demand for organic produce. The link between the problem and solution is also great.
In order to have proper use of Turabian Author-Date citations, I would include some in-text reference to the sources.
In order to make the argument more focused, I suggest removing information about the large-scale operations in the western United States. Additionally, rather than going back and forth between addressing the problem and talking about the solution, it’s important to outline the problem fully and then present the solution. Additionally, in order to bring more clarity to the argument, I suggest focusing on the mechanics and diction.
I rewrote the memo below. I put the problem in the first paragraph and the solution in the second paragraph. I also adjusted some of the grammar/wording. Here it is:
For decades, Wisconsin has been suffering from economic losses due to the challenge of competing with farms in the western United States. Even though Wisconsin consumers are demanding that their food is organically produced, currently only 4% of Wisconsin’s total food sales are organic. California is leading the way in both the number of organic farms and the number of farms transitioning to organic. Although strong community and government support exist to grow Wisconsin’s agricultural sector, the state has not yet identified the exact economic, environmental, and social parameters that are needed to bring sustainable agriculture from the western United States to Wisconsin.
Considering its abundant natural resources, existing farming infrastructure, and commitment to sustainability, Wisconsin has the opportunity to lead the nation in sustainable farming methods and organic produce sales. By leveraging the state’s institutional knowledge of agriculture and cutting-edge technical research on new sustainable dairy, irrigation, tillage, water management, and nutrient management plans, Wisconsin can be the national leader of sustainable agriculture production and dramatically increase the amount of sustainably produced food available to consumers. I seek your permission to conduct research and provide data that can be used to influence private investors to support Wisconsin in meeting consumer needs by reinventing itself as the domestic mecca of sustainable agriculture.
Comment by Amy McNulty:
Mary – Appreciate the comments! I’ve revised to include the references. Thank you!