Faith, Family, Friends, Farm and Fun
Boucher Farms is a 4th generation, small to mid-sized Grain farm, Harvesting Corn and Soybeans in Northern Central Illinois. After graduating from Iowa State University, I was fortunate enough to be able to come home and take over the day to day operations of our family farm. Since then we have rented a few additional acres and improved our efficiencies with the increased use of GPS, VRT and Yield Mapping technologies. The result of using these technologies is a reduction in fertilizer and chemical use, as well as placing them more accurately where they are needed in the fields in a more timely fashion. My overall goal as a farmer is to manage and operate our farm as sustainably and as efficiently as possible so the next generation has the opportunity to farm as well.
2. What made you want to start your blog, offthecobb.wordpress.com ?
My social media experience began on Facebook over 2 years or so ago, and I’ve been on twitter (@boucherfarms) for about the last year. Both sites are great in their own right. Basically, I use Facebook to communicate with the people I already personally know, and use Twitter mostly to communicate with people who I do not personally know, but are interested in the same subjects as I am. Although both sites are great for basic communication, I felt there were some subjects that needed a longer post, explanation or discussion than 140 Characters would allow, Such as Faith, Family, Friends, Farm and Fun, which are the basic subjects of my blog. Off the Cobb was a project I had in mind for quite some time, however I didn’t jump into the blogging world until my other blog, “The 2% Project, The Farmers Story” www.boucherfarms.wordpress.com was born. It was conceived during the #occupywalstreet and #occupycombine movements of this past fall. While everyone seemed to be concerned about what percentage they fit into, 1%, 99% etc…I knew that the farmers are the 2%. Farmers make up a mere 2% (or less) of todays population yet grow the foods we the, 100% need to survive. The idea behind the 2% blog is to give farmers a chance to tell their story, to show who they are, what they do and why as well as give consumers an opportunity to meet a farmer and communicate with them. I hope the blog, which is a work in progress, creates a new form of understanding between consumers and farmers through quality communication and respect.
3. What has been the biggest surprise since you started? or something you didn’t expect:
That’s a really great question. Since I was new to the blogosphere, I really didn’t know what to expect. I simply thought I would put my thoughts on paper, good or bad and if someone read them, great! If they didn’t, that was ok too. If they commented and we had an open discussion on whatever the subject matter was, well…you can’t get any better than that. What surprised me, and what I didn’t expect, was making so many new contacts, and new friends along the way. These new friendships were made through simple communication through the blog and social media alike, but were, in part, because of the blog. I am happy to say that more and more of them are joining my Facebook friend list (which I keep just for people I know) as I get to know them better.
4. What obstacles have you met and how did you overcome them?
The biggest obstacle I have run into is simply Time. I have a family of my own, my farm, and my seed business that keep me busy enough;I thought…how can I keep up with a blog too? But from time to time I do. I don’t know that I have or ever will overcome the time constraint, however I do see a huge value in keeping the blog(s) going and continuing The 2% Project well into the future. While my OTC blog as well as the 2% blog have been a slow process, I have some great subjects to talk about and farmers lined up to share their story in the coming months.
5. What advice would you give someone just starting a blog?
- 1. Blog about the subjects you are passionate about.
- 2. While blogs are opinionated in nature, remain as factual as possible and back your content up with links. This will give you more credibility.
- 3. Remain Positive and throw in a little humor. For example, my “Which Came First, The Chicken Or the EGG?” post was actually serious in nature, however a picture of two chickens wondering where the egg came from and wondering what it was lightened the mood.
- 4. Embrace all kinds of conversation, especially if that person doesn’t agree with you. Education, Respect, and Open-mindedness are the keys to understanding one another.
- 5. Use social media sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest (yes I and other guys are on it) and Stumbleupon to guide traffic toward your site.
- 6. Above all, have some FUN with it! If you do, your readers will too!
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